Sunday, July 02, 2006

Some Fish’n Favorites

If you find our blog recipes to be without a theme, eclectic in nature, we promise you will find they all have one thing in common and that is great taste. Out of all the things that I attempt to prepare, I find fish and shellfish to be the most difficult. I love the taste of deep fried seafood, but have come to realize fish and shellfish deserve to have their delicate nuances of flavor preserved for the table. This challenge has lead me to try many varieties and preparations, from poaching and saucing to mousses. The two recipes represented here reward the chef in their ease of preparation and their delivery of comfort and flavor.

adapted from the book titled “A taste of the Gulf Coast” by Jessie Tirsch
Verona Watson’s Scallop Bake
  • 2 pounds bay or sea scallops (cut sea scallops into quarters)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley,
    preferably Italian ( flat-leaf )

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place 8 scallop shells or ramekins on a baking sheet and distribute the scallops evenly among them. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and whisk in the cream, wine, lemon juice, onions, salt, pepper, and ginger. Divide among the scallop dishes. Combine the breadcrumbs, 6 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the melted butter, and parsley, and sprinkle this mixture evenly over the scallops. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the tops and bake until brown and bubbly, 16 to 18 minutes.

    Cooks note: I replaced the white wine with a dry vermouth.

    adapted from the book titled “The Great Book of Seafood” Giuliana Bonomo
    Sailor’s Pie
  • 1 lb fillets of hake or cod
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 10 ounces floury potatoes
  • 1/2 cup mitk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp béchamel sauce
  • breadcrumbs
  • salt

    Wash the fish, drain, and poach for 10 minutes in 2 1/4 cups water with a little salt and the lemon juice. Leave to cool in the liquid and then drain. Remove any remaining bones, reduce to a purée in the food processor, and transfer to a bowl. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 30-40 minutes; drain, peel, and mash while hot. Work the potatoes into the fish, add the hot milk, the butter cut into small pieces, the bechamel sauce, and a little salt. When well blended, grease a deep cake pan (8-9 in in diameter) with butter, sprinkle the Inside with breadcrumbs and fill with the fish mixture. Top with a layer of breadcrumbs. Place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Brown the top under the broiler for 2 minutes. Leave to stand for a minute before serving.

    Bechamél Sauce
    Make the bechamél sauce: put 1/2 pint milk into a small saucepan, add 1 peeled, sliced shallot (or small onion), 1 chopped carrot, 1/2 stick celery, chopped, 1 bay leaf, and a few peppercorns. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and leave to infuse for 15-20 minutes. Strain the milk and discard the flavorings. Melt 1 oz butter in a clean saucepan, stir in 4-5 tbsp all-purpose flour and cook the resulting roux for a few minutes. Gradually add the flavored milk and bring to a boil, stirring
    constantly. Cook for a further minute or two until thickened.

    Cooks notes: I used russet potatos.

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