Le grande aïoli

A traditional provençal custom, le Grand Aïoli is an assortment of vegetables (sometimes eggs and seafood) accompanied by a bowl of aïoli.   Boiled vegetables can include artichokes, carrots, potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli.

Aïoli

6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 egg yolks (room temperature)
2 Tbsp of strained lemon juice
1-1/2 cups of virgin olive oil (room temperature)
salt and freshly ground pepper

With a food processor:

  • Process the garlic cloves until finely chopped.
  • Add egg yolks, 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of oil, pinch of salt and pepper and process until blended.
  • Scrape bottom and sides of processor container several times.
  • Gradually pour in 1/4 cup of oil in a thin stream.
  • Add the remaining oil a little faster.
  • Add the rest of the lemon juice and adjust seasoning.
  • Serve with the boiled vegetables and French bread.

Fish provençal

2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 leek (white part only) cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 rib of celery, thinly sliced
1 cup of dry white wine
1 cup of fish stock
1 Tbsp of tomato paste
2 lb of fish (scrod, ocean cat fish, monk fish) cut in 2 inch pieces.
18 oil-cured olives, pitted
1 cup slivered sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp of herbes de Provence
Salt, pepper
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the leek and celery.
  • Sauté over low heat, covered, until soft (about 10 minutes).
  • Stir in the wine, the tomato sauce, stock and sun-dried tomatoes, add the garlic and herbs.
  • Raise the heat to medium.
  • Add the fish, the salt and pepper and cook until tender.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
  • One way to keep the fish pieces from falling apart is to cook them, coated in flour, in olive oil.
  • Gently warm them in the sauce before serving.

Filet of bass with sorrel

Serves 6.

3 pounds of bass (or sole or salmon)
1 pound of sorrel
some sweet butter
3 shallots, minced
1/2 cup of white vermouth
1/2 cup of fish stock
1/2 cup of cream 

  • Cut the filets (about 12 strips, 4 ounces each).
  • Wash the sorrel, remove the stems and julienne.
  • Preheat the oven to 500°F.
  • Take an ovenproof platter, butter it, sprinkle the mixed shallots at the bottom.
  • Arrange filets on top.
  • Pour the vermouth, fish stock, and add half the sorrel.
  • Cover with buttered foil.
  • Bring to a boil on top of the stove and put in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer fish to a warm platter.
  • Reserve the liquid.
  • In a saucepan, heat 1/2 teaspoon of butter and sauté the remaining sorrel.
  • Strain the reserved liquid over it.
  • Add cream and reduce until thickened.
  • Season, place strip of fish on plate and nap with sorrel sauce.
  • With addition of butter, this could become a white butter sauce.

Filet de sole bonne femme

Serves 4.

8 filets of sole
1 carrot, 1 onion, sliced
bouquet garni
salt and pepper
1-1/4 cups dry white wine
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp of butter
lemon juice and parsley
Sauce hollandaise
2 egg yolks
4 oz. of unsalted butter
(at room temperature and cut into small pieces)
2 tsp of lemon juice, salt and pepper 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Place the filets, folded in half, in a shallow fireproof dish with the carrot, onion, bouquet garni, salt and pepper.
  • Pour over the wine, cover with buttered wax paper and poach in oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Transfer the filets to a serving platter and keep warm in the turned off oven.
  • Pour the cooking liquid in a saucepan and reduce to 2 Tbsp.
  • In the meantime, place the mushrooms in a small pan with the butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Cook gently for 5 minutes or until tender.

For the sauce hollandaise

  • Lightly beat the yolks in a heavy saucepan.
  • Strain the reduced cooking liquid of the soles in the egg yolks.
  • Mix well.
  • Place the saucepan with the egg mixture in a larger saucepan filled with 1/2 inch of simmering water.
  • Keep the heat low and whisk the mixture continuously until a thick creamy consistency is obtained.
  • This is the double boiler method.
  • With careful attention to the heat, try to do without.
  • Beat in the butter a little at a time.
  • Do not allow the sauce to get to hot.
  • When all the butter has been added, stir in the lemon juice and season to taste.
  • Stir in the mushrooms and parsley.
  • Keep warm.

To serve

Make sure to remove additional liquid from the cooked filets.  Coat the filets in the serving dish with the hollandaise sauce. Put the filets of sole under a very hot broiler until the top is lightly browned. This must be done very quickly.  Serve immediately.

The vegetables can be kept under the fish, or they can be saved and puréed to make a soup with the addition of some fish stock and béchamel sauce.

Choulibiac

Serves 8 to 10.

Batter for Giant Crêpe

1/3 cup of flour
1/2 cup of milk
1 large egg
1 Tbsp of cooking oil / 1/2 tsp of salt

Pâte à choux

1-1/2 cups water in 2 1/2 quart saucepan
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter cut into pieces
1-1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of flour
6 large eggs

Filling

2 lb of sole fillets (16 fillets each about 9×2 inches)
1/2 lb skinless and boneless halibut or more sole fillets
1 cup of heavy cream
10 oz of mushrooms
several shallots
salt, pepper, nutmeg, some additional butter

  • Arrange about 3 layers the fillets with sprinkling of minced shallots, salt and pepper and a few drops of Cognac.
  • Refrigerate.
  • For the Giant Crêpe, place flour in a bowl and make a hole in center.
  • Add the egg, oil and salt.
  • Beat together and slowly incorporate the flour as you add the milk.
  • Let rest for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Smear a sturdy jelly roll pan with butter, roll flour in it.
  • Put a thin layer of crêpe batter into pan and set in lower oven for 4 or 5 minutes or until set.
  • Then place under the broiler to brown top slowly and lightly.
  • Slide crêpe off into a cake rack.
  • Refrigerate between two sheets of wax paper.
  • For the pâte à choux, bring 1-1/2 cups of water to boil with the cut up butter and salt.
  • As soon as the butter has melted, remove from heat and dump in all of the flour at once.
  • Beat  vigorously until smooth.
  • Set again over high heat beating continuously to evaporate excess moisture.
  • Scrape paste into a mixer.
  • At low speed, incorporate 5 eggs one after another.
  • Break sixth egg in a small bowl, beat it, and add it to the mixture by droplets, only as needed, so that the mixture holds its shape.
  • Remove 1/2 cup and refrigerate for fish mousse.
  • Set the rest in a bowl over warm water for final assembly.
  • For the fish mousse, cut the halibut and one of the sole fillet into chunks.
  • Place in the food processor with cold choux paste, 3/4 cup of chilled cream, 1/2 tsp of salt, grinds of white pepper, pinch of nutmeg.
  • Ground into a fine paste.
  • If too stiff add more cream, but it should hold its shape.
  • Cover and refrigerate.
  • For the mushroom duxelles, mince mushrooms by hand or in food processor.
  • Sauté in frying pan in 2 Tbsp of melted butter with some minced shallots for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Season lightly with salt and pepper and pour in 3 Tbsp of Cognac.
  • Boil down rapidly to evaporate liquid.
  • Scrape into a bowl and reserve.

Assembling the Choulibiac

  • Spread the Giant Crêpe on a buttered baking dish (nonstick if possible) and trim off any stiff edges.
  • Spread 1/3 of the fish mousse in a rectangle about 12 x 5 inches and arrange half of the fillets over it.
  • On top of that, spread half of the duxelles, then the rest of the fillets and remaining duxelles.
  • Beat any fish-seasoning juices into reserved mousse and spread it over top and sides of fish structure.
  • Then, bring the ends and sides of the crêpe up over the fish, trimming off any crêpe in excess of 1 inch edging.
  • Reserve half cup of choux paste for decoration; then, using a flexible spatula dipped in cold water, spread choux pastry evenly over top and sides, masking structure completely.
  • Poke holes in the lower part of the four corners and insert buttered foil funnels.

Decoration and baking

  • Preheat oven to 425°F and set rack in lower-middle level.
  • If choux paste has cooled and stiffened, beat over warm water.
  • Spoon in pastry bag with half inch cannelated tube.
  • Paint Choulibiac with a coating of egg glaze then decorate as you wish.
  • Reserve 5 or 6 Tbsp of choux pastry for velouté sauce.
  • Glaze the decorations and the rest of the pastry with two coatings of egg.
  • Immediately set in oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until pastry is slightly brown and puffy.
  • Turn oven down to 375°F and continue baking another 20 minutes.
  • Serve as soon as possible with a velouté sauce.

Velouté sauce

2 cups of fish trimmings
1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, chopped
parsley, bay leaf
1 cup of white wine, 1 cup of water, 1/2 tsp of salt
5 to 6 Tbsp of choux pastry
1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of cream
white pepper, lemon juice, butter (as much or as little as you wish)

  • Simmer the fish trimmings with the vegetables, herbs, wine, water, salt for half an hour.
  • Strain, then boil down rapidly to 1 cup.
  • Gradually blend in the choux pastry, pour into saucepan and simmer thinning out as necessary with spoonfuls of milk and cream.
  • Sauce should coat a spoon lightly.
  • Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  • Add additional butter if you wish.

Bouillabaisse

For 10 to 12 people.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, and 1 leek, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf, parsley)
pinch of fennel seeds or branch of fennel
2 lb fish heads and backbones
3 quarts of water
4 cups of crushed tomatoes (about 2 lb)
2 Tbsp of sun dried tomato paste
2 cups of white wine
pinch of saffron/ salt and pepper

Marinate for 2 hours in 1/4  cup of olive oil and 2 Tbsp of Pernod, cut everything in 2 inch chunks:

1 lb of flavorful fish (sea bass, snapper, cod, haddock, or halibut)
1 lb of delicate fish (whiting, perch, sole)
1/2 lb of scallops, 1/2 lb of shrimps
1 lb of monk fish or lobster pieces

For the stock

  • In a large saucepan heat the oil.
  • Add onion, celery, carrots, leek, bouquet garni, fennel.
  • Cook for 5 minutes and add water.
  • Bring to a boil, add the fish bones and simmer for 40 minutes.
  • Pass through a sieve forcing as much liquid as you can from the vegetable mixture.
  • Reduce to concentrate the flavors if necessary.
  • Reserve 1 cup of stock for the rouille.

For the Bouillabaisse

  • To the above stock add the tomatoes, wine, saffron, salt and pepper.
  • Add the marinate juices.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Bring to a boil before adding the monk fish or lobster.
  • Boil briskly 5 minutes.
  • Add the delicate fish and boil again 5 minutes.
  • Finally, add the scallops and shrimp and boil 3 minutes.
  • (Optional) cook the shrimp separately with garlic and parsley, peel them and deglaze the pan with some wine (use the shell of the shrimp in the wine).

Rouille

1 dried hot chili
1 potato, sliced thin
1 cup fish stock, reduced
1/4 cup roasted red pepper
4 cloves garlic and  few leaves of fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil

  • Cook chili pepper and potato in fish stock until tender.
  • Pour into food processor with roasted pepper, garlic and basil.
  • Blend until smooth then add olive oil bit by bit.

Croûtes

  • Preheat oven 325°F.
  • Cut about 24 slices of French bread and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Lightly coat both sides of bread with olive oil.
  • Turn and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Rub each slice with garlic.

Baked cod with béarnaise sauce

To serve 6.

Buy the thickest part of the cod filets only, so the baking will be even.  Depending on their size, you will need about 1 filet for two people.

3 filets of cod
olive oil
salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Dry the filets with paper towels and brush them with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Brush a baking pan with the olive oil and bake the filets in it for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, cover and keep warm.

Béarnaise sauce

The béarnaise sauce is similar to the hollandaise sauce but is enhanced with shallots, tarragon, and vinegar. These two are the most celebrated of emulsified sauces and consist of a stable mixture of two liquids – vinegar or lemon and butter – that normally separate from each other.  To keep them together they need an emulsifying agent that occurs naturally in many animal substances such as egg yolks (lecithin), milk (casein) and blood.  In fact, a small quantity of casein in regular butter does, to a slight degree, help emulsify your hollandaise sauce. These agents work in three different ways: they coat the oil droplets, reduce water’s surface tension and give the oil droplets identical electrical charges.

So, the stability of an emulsion is threatened if:

  • temperatures are too extreme (separates when frozen, curdles when heat reached 190°F)
  • there is excess agitation – overbeating destabilizes the emulsion.
  • a nasty thunderstorm strikes!

2 Tbsp of finely chopped shallots
1 Tbsp of red vinegar
1 Tbsp of water
1 Tbsp of fresh tarragon
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
1/4 tsp of salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter at room temperature and cut up in small pieces

  • In a thick-bottomed saucepan mix the vinegar and the shallots.
  • Cook on low heat until vinegar is evaporated.
  • Add the water, the yolks, the tarragon, the salt and the cayenne.
  • Beat with a whisk until just blended.
  • Improvise a double boiler with 1/2 inch of water brought to a simmer in a large pan and set  the saucepan with the egg mixture in it.
  • Cook for 1 or 2 minutes until yolks thicken.
  • Beating constantly, gradually add increasing quantities of butter.
  • Serve with the cod filets.

Timbale de crêpes

For 6 to 8 people.

A 1-1/2 quart cylindrical mold is good for this recipe. Make a crêpe batter for 10 large crêpes and 10 small ones.

Mornay sauce

Makes about three cups.

4 Tbsp butter
5 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups of boiling milk
salt, pepper, nutmeg
1 cup of coarsely grated gruyère and some whipping cream

  • Cook the flour and butter together.
  • Beat in the boiling milk and seasonings and boil.
  • Remove from heat and add the cheese.
  • Film top of sauce with cream to prevent a skin from forming.

Stuffing

2 packages of fresh spinach (10 ounces) cooked and drained
1/2 cup of Mornay sauce.
1 cup of cottage cheese
1 egg
1 package of mushrooms (10 ounces) minced & cooked in skillet with shallots & butter & 1/2 cup of Mornay sauce.
1 cup of leftover chicken pieces, well seasoned and mixed with 1/2 cup of Mornay sauce
2 cups of mozzarella

Forming the timbale

  • Butter the mold.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cut the 10 large crêpes in half and line the mold with them.
  • One pointed end at the bottom center of the mold and the other folded down outside the mold.
  • Fill the mold with alternating layers of stuffing and crêpes.
  • Fold the dangling ends of the halves crêpes over the last layer of stuffing and top with a final crêpe.
  • Set mold in a pan of boiling water and bake in lower third of oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Unmold on a buttered serving dish and cover with the remaining Mornay sauce.

Supremes à blanc

4 supremes
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt, white pepper
2 Tbsp of butter

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Rub the supremes with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • In an oven proof dish, melt the butter until it bubbles, and put the supremes into it.
  • Cook the supremes a little bit on each side until white.
  • Put the dish covered with wax paper in the oven.
  • Cook for 6 minutes.
  • Take the supremes out of the dish and reserve.

For the sauce

1/4 cup of stock
1/4 cup vermouth
1/2 cup whipping cream lemon juice, parsley

  • Pour the stock and wine with the cooking butter in the dish.
  • Boil down quickly until syrupy.
  • Stir in the cream and boil down again.
  • Taste for seasoning, add some lemon juice.
  • Put the supremes back into the dish and sprinkle with parsley.

Supreme de volaille à l’Ecossaise

4 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter
lemon, salt, pepper
1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, 1 onion (diced)
2 Tbsp of butter

  • Season the breasts with salt, pepper, and lemon.
  • Cook the chicken in the hot melted butter on both sides quickly.
  • In the meantime, in a oven proof casserole, cook the diced vegetables with salt and butter until tender.
  • Put the breasts of chicken on top of the diced vegetables.
  • Cover with buttered waxed paper and cook in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Transfer to a serving plate and keep warm in turned off oven.
  • Use the casserole to make the sauce.

Sauce

1/2 cup of whipping cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
parsley

  • Pour the wine and the stock into the casserole with the remaining juices from the chicken breasts.
  • Boil down quickly over high heat until liquid is syrupy.
  • Stir in the cream and do the same again.
  • Season to your taste, pour the sauce over the suprêmes, sprinkle parsley and serve at once.