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.

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.