Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 362 - Shallow-Poached Fish Fillets with Beurre Rouge and Wild Rice

It's my last Jeff and Martha dinner for Marcy!

Ugh, I'm doing that thing people do when they start getting sentimental when something's about to end: "It's my last drink as a 30-something!" "It's the last time we'll ever perform this show together!" "It's my last fish dish from this cookbook!"

Actually, it IS my last fish dish from this cookbook!

Shallow-Poached Fish Fillets with Beurre Rouge (p. 224)

I've done versions of this dish twice now, once with flounder/kumquats and then another time with turbot/lemongrass. This last variation is actually the simplest, eliminating most of the ingredients and adding only tomato puree, hence the rouge of the beurre. (My edition of the cookbook has the word "beurre" misspelled five times in this recipe alone! WTF?)

Since Martha recommend three kinds of fish for shallow poaching, I thought I'd try a different one each time. Neither flounder nor turbot was particularly pleasing to me, so I had high hopes for sole. At Fairway, I had the choice of Dover Sole or Lemon Sole, same look, same price, same size fillets. I opted for the Lemon Sole because it was wild, and I know Marcy likes her fish wild.

So here's the drill: melt butter, sweat a minced shallot, add 1/2 cup white wine and 1 T tomato puree, bring to a simmer, salt fish, add it to the simmering pan, cover with a parchment round, and cook until opaque. Once the fish is done, put it on a platter, strain and reduce poaching liquid, stir in a bunch of butter, season and serve over fish.

First of all, let me say that I finally got the butter sauce right.  The first time, it was too thick, the second time, too thin, this time, juuuuuuuust right. And what I thought would be a weird combo, i.e. tomato, white wine, and butter, worked beautifully. I think this had to do with how little tomato puree is used. The sauce, as you can see from the picture, would be more aptly named beurre saumoné.

Now, on to the Lemon Sole. Finally, we have a winner! This fish is delicate without being fishy. Hallelujah! And I managed to cook it perfectly, just done enough without tipping over into flaky, dry land.

I still have the issue with the fish cooling off while the butter sauce gets made, but fine, whatever. Marcy and I aren't that picky, and truth be told, I'm probably never going to shallow-poach another fish fillet again, because of this very reason.

Overall, I'm pleased because this was so much better than the other renditions.

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Wild Rice (p. 412)

My last rice! :-)

I don't think I've ever had 100% wild rice. It's always  an ingredient in those wild rice mixes, but you rarely see it solo. It's completely black, long skinny black grains. Was this going to be edible?

Survey says: yes!

My rice took a bit longer than Martha said it would, probably about an hour total. I was surprised to see how fluffy it got! It starts out black, but it ends up more "salt and pepper." And it's delicious full-strength. Super nutty and fibrous. I'm a fan.

That said, it's definitely not a perfect match for tonight's fish. But at this point, it isn't about making perfect matches. It's just about getting it done. :-)

Jeff: A
Martha: A

Until we eat again....

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