Matelote de pêcheur

From Yves Parent.

1 lb of salmon fillet (cut in chunks)
1 lb of cod fillet (cut in chunks)
1 lb of swordfish (cut in chunks)
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 big onion, sliced
1 leek
3 or 4 red potatoes, cut in small cubes
1 cup of fish stock (optional)
1 bouquet garni
1 Tbsp of chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1 quart of white mushrooms
1 carrot
1 cup of dry white wine (Sauvignon is preferred)
1 Tbsp of sour cream

  • Chop the onion, the scallions and the leek.
  • Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes.
  • In  a large saucepan, sweat the onion in the olive oil, but do not let it brown.
  • Add the leek and continue cooking gently for a minute.
  • Add the potatoes and bouquet garni, the chopped parsley, and one cup of fish stock (if you don’t have fish stock simply add water).
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook gently while adding the chopped mushrooms and chopped scallions.
  • Slice the carrot with the vegetable peeler and drop into the liquid as well.
  • Add the white wine.
  • Cook until the potatoes are tender.
  • The liquid must not reduce too much.
  • It should cover the vegetables.
  • First add the salmon, then add the swordfish.
  • Bring the liquid back to a boil, then add the cod, which cooks very quickly.
  • Stop the heat and let rest for about 4 minutes.
  • Before serving in hot soup plates or bowls, add the sour cream

Fish stock

2 lb of heads and bones of fresh white fish
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 large onion and one carrot, peeled and sliced
4 fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of dry white wine
5 cups of water or enough to cover
bouquet garni

  • In a large casserole brown the onion in the oil.
  • Add the fish and water.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Skim off the scum that rises to the surface.
  • Add the mushrooms, carrot, bouquet garni and wine.
  • Simmer slowly, partially covered, for 1/2 hour.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing lightly on the bones and vegetables to extract all the liquid.

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.