Oh, man. It's a good thing Noe and I got in a few hours of tennis today because I once again turned to Julia Child for dinner. We all know that Julia LOVES butter...and cream, and cheese. Tonight's poached fish might sound healthy at first, until you hear what I poached it IN and what I did to it after said poaching.
I had some flounder fillets (sole would have been more Julia but was, alas, not available) on hand, so I used that for this recipe. I followed Julia's master recipe for poaching fish in white wine (take three guesses which white wine I used). Because I did not have any fish stock, I tried her tip for a substitute: 3/4 cup of white wine combined with 1/4 cup of clam juice. I buttered a dish, sprinkled some minced green onion on the bottom, seasoned the fish with salt and pepper and laid it in the dish, covered it with another tablespoon or so of green onion, dotted it with some cut-up butter and then submerged it in the white wine/clam juice mixture and enough water to cover the fillets.
I brought this whole mess to barely a simmer, then threw it in the oven (350 degrees) covered with a piece of buttered parchment paper. I kept it there for about eleven minutes, removing it when the fish could be sliced with a fork (but before it was dry and really flaky).
I fished (ha ha) the fillets out of the dish with a slotted spoon and put them on a plate. I then poured the poaching liquid into a saucepan and brought it up to a boil. I boiled it until it had reduced to a cup or so, then took it off the heat. I used a whisk to beat in a paste I had made out of flour and softened (NOT melted) butter, then put it back on the heat, beat in half a cup of cream, and boiled it up again. I taste-tested it and seasoned it up with salt and pepper.
When the sauce was of a thickness where it coated a spoon, I took it off the heat. I put the fillets back in the original dish, poured the sauce over them, sprinkled everything with about a quarter cup of grated Gruyere (the recipe said Swiss; close enough, right?) and some more cut-up butter pieces (of course) and threw it under the broiler for three minutes.
YUM. The sauce was awesome - creamy but not cheesy with an excellent seafood-y flavor (you know the flavor I mean - like the flavor in really good chowder or real seafood stuffing). The fish was moist from the poaching and subtly infused with wine and onion (I am sure it would have been better if I could have gotten super fresh fish, but I had supermarket fish for this one). The butter and cream added an element of richness but this dish did not really taste heavy (although it was pretty filling). I served it with broccoli (I wanted green beans but the broccoli really needed to be used) and baguette (though of course Noe made rice).
Mastering the Art of French Cooking - and get over the fear of butter in mass quantities - I promise you, the time spent making one of these recipes is worth it.
Happy New Year!
2 years ago