Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 142 - Deep-Poached Fish Fillets

Deep-Poached Fish Fillets (p. 228)

It's sort of a cliché, isn't it? Fish on Fridays? But with my somewhat regular Friday night dates with Marcy, the fish lover, I'm passing for a Christian with this Friday fish ritual!

Today, the lesson is deep-poaching. For this installment, I went with halibut, which is one of my favorite firm-fleshed white-meat fish. (Did anyone watch Top Chef Masters, when Suzanne Tracht got eliminated for her grouper? I felt her grouper pain, remembering my own grouper debacle.)

I must confess, I made a hideous short cut in this recipe. The recipe calls for chicken stock, and while my freezer is filled with homemade brown (beef) stock, I'm all out of homemade chicken stock. So I used... store bought. :-0 I know, I know. I'm the first one to admit that there's no comparison, but I didn't have time to whip up a batch of chicken stock. Maybe I'll revisit this recipe with the Asian flavors option and use homemade stock that time.

This is a lovely way to prepare fish. And really easy. You might think, as I did, that it's impossible to overcook poached fish, but it's not true! These fillets didn't cook very quickly. I checked them at 4 minutes, and they were definitely not done. Then, again at about 8 minutes, still a little raw in the middle. They probably went for about 10-11 minutes, but here's the interesting part. At their thickest point, they were cooked perfectly, but at the thin end of the fillet, they were overdone. Hmmm. I guess the solution is to request fillets sliced to be of equal thickness throughout. I wonder if a fishmonger will do that for you....

The fish is served in its broth, which is a nice idea. (Yes, yes, of course it would have tasted better with homemade broth.) The flavor of the broth is overwhelmingly lemony, which Marcy liked. I was a little pucker-faced.

Over all, this is a very refined, no-nonsense meal. Simple piece of fish, well-cooked, in a bowl of lemony chicken broth. Purists will love it. Others may require a little more dazzle. Maybe if you're serving a tasting menu, this, with a small piece of fish, would make a nice course on the way to a meat course....

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Until we eat again....

Marcy with the halibut, appropriately served in my big blue fish bowls

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