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Apr 1, 2008 07:13 PM

COTM - HOPKINSON: FISH and SHELLFISH (Anchovy, cod, crab, hake, etc.)

I combined several chapters in these threads, but I think you should be able to find them as I left the chapter names mostly intact. You may have to search for individual chapters under the umbrella heading, but it's a small book and that shouldn't be difficult.

Plz advise of any errors.

Thanks, Oakjoan

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  1. Poached Salmon, Hollandaise Sauce and Pickled Cucumber, p. 183

    I made the court bouillon ahead of time - I think I probably put in too many peppercorns (6) as I thought it smelled quite peppery, liked the addition of the cloves, and white wine vinegar as opposed to wine. He calls for 1.5 lbs of salmon, on the bone, which isn't something that I could find, so I just used a piece of salmon with the skin. He calls for poaching 20 - 30 minutes - I put the timer on for 20, since I had no bones - although the fish was still very tender and moist at 20 minutes, I'd probably start checking it earlier, as we tend to like it a little less done.

    The hollandaise is the easiest hollandaise I've ever made. I was a bit sceptical of his instructions because of their brevity, and hauled out MTAFC to read Julia's much longer instructions, but decided to go ahead and use SH's. A complete breeze. I melted the butter ahead of time, skimmed off the "froth", then whisked the eggs on the lowest flame on my smallest burner and proceeded. The eggs were at room temperature, by the way, which I think is probably good. For those who don't want to go with the Hollandaise calories, you could make a nice yogurt sauce of some kind instead.

    Pickled Cucumber was a nice side for the salmon, and those being careful about sugar could just omit it, I think.

    I had some small potatoes that I boiled, and served Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan as well, though we ate it as a salad course after the salmon (it would make a nice starter).

    17 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Looks and sounds delicious! I can't wait to try some of them on my own. Thanks, also, for the tips on how one might go about lightening it! It helps to have feedback know which ones can and which ones simple cannot be altered without changing the essential character of the dish.


      1. re: MMRuth

        I'm now wondering about the "salmon on the bone". I'm reading the Hake chapter, and he writes "I like to cook cutlets "therefore on the bone" - and I'm wondering if he's referring to what I think of as "fish steaks". Not sure how else one could get a 1.5 lb piece of "salmon on the bone". Any thoughts?

        By the way, in addition the recipes in the Hake chapter - he also talks in the intro of his favorite way to make it, "au poivre", with enough instructions to make it if one wanted to, I think.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I assumed he meant a 1.5 piece of salmon cut from a large fish. But apparently you can also get salmon fillet on the bone - see links below.

          1. re: greedygirl

            Thanks for the link!

            Are you referring to the one described as "Fillet"? That's what I used (though, for once, the fish monger had actually removed that line of bones, so I didn't have to pry them out with the pliers!) I can't imagine that that long row of little bones would add much difference to the flavor when cooking - what do you think! I can see how the bones in the steaks would add more flavor.

            I love making those little "mignons" for dinner parties though I do skin them. So elegant looking.

            1. re: MMRuth

              It says on the first link that you can get fillet with the large bone still attached, although I have to say I've never seen it myself. At the bottom of the second link there's a reference to "chunks" cut from the middle of the salmon. I think that's what I would use.

              1. re: greedygirl

                Thanks - I'll go back and look more carefully!

                " fillet of salmon may contain a single set of large bones, depending on the type of cut." - you don't think those are the ones that you pull out w/ pliers?

                Hadn't seen the 2nd link before - I guess that chunk at the end would work - once poached, just peel of the skin, remove the two filets from the bone, and then cut into smaller filets. I'm going to try that next time!

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Don't those tend to be what we call "pin" bones - very small ones?

                  I'm going to quiz my fishmonger about this at the weekend!

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    Yes, exactly - I couldn't remember the name for them.

                2. re: greedygirl

                  Ah, yes, that makes sense to me that "fillet on the bone" can mean that kind of folded-over cross-section. Basically, both fillets are still there...


            2. re: MMRuth

              I think he must be referring to fish steaks. I've mainly seen those in halibut and salmon.

              I don't know if I've ever seen hake at my local fishmongers. Might it be an East Coast, North Atlantic type of fish? Or could it be know under another name? I guess I'll have to call our local laid-back, yet tres chic, Monterey Fish and ask them.

              1. re: oakjoan

                It might be an Atlantic Ocean fish. I've bought it here in New York (Lobster Palace in Chelsea Market).

                1. re: oakjoan

                  I agree that he's probably talking about the "steak" cut - what threw me off was having one piece of it - I usually see individual steaks, though I see large pieces of filet. I'm sure I could ask for one large piece of the "steak" cut though.

              2. re: MMRuth

                We tried the poached salmon last night--sans the hollandaise sauce, and with a lemon wedge and dollop of yogurt instead. We loved the pickled cucumber dish--I used just a bit of Splenda and it worked out fine. I couldn't find salmon on the bone either, so I just used a fillet (without the skin) and it turned out lovely.

                Hopkinson says in the book that some might think this recipe is "uninspired" (he calls the other poached salmon recipe, "old hat")--it is not a "wow" dish (though, it certainly might be with the hollandaise sauce--remember, I only did the poached fish and cucumber part of the menu, so, I can only make a partial judgment); nor is it especially quick, but most of the time spent is passive time (literally--as the heat isn't even turned on under the salmon). I suspect this is a very forgiving and foolproof recipe and would be the perfect dish to prepare if you wanted a simple dish that gave you time to putter around the kitchen and work on your vegetables and dessert etc.


                1. re: MMRuth

                  I made this yesterday for a lunch party and thought it was really good. I used a chunk of centre-cut salmon on the bone, and it was quite a bit bigger than suggested (more like 2.5 pounds), so it was really quite underdone in the middle, which was fine but next time I'd leave it to poach a bit longer.

                  I'd never made hollandaise before, but bolstered by MMR's report, I wasn't particularly worried and it turned out fine (the dish was practically licked clean). I really liked the pickled cucumber salad, although I left out the dill as I'm not that keen on it. I served the whole thing with boiled potatoes and asparagus.

                  Not a scrap left, which is a shame as I was hoping to have poached salmon and potato salad for my lunch today!

                  This also worked really well for company, as most of the preparation could be done in advance.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    Yes! I thought it would be a great "for company dish"--I'm glad it worked out that way. Sorry about the leftovers--or, lack thereof. ;-)


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I hardly ever have leftovers, however much I cook. My friends sure can eat!

                2. Old Report - Salmon in Pastry with Currants and Ginger

                  Last night I made Salmon in Pastry with Currants and Ginger. It calls for preserved ginger, which I couldn't find, so I used ginger in syrup and rinsed them well. You use (bought in my case) puff pastry dough - 3 oz pieces rolled out "thinly" to 5" squares, but in my case 3oz pretty much equalled 5" squares, and looked a bit small for my salmon pieces, so I rolled out to 6" squares. Soaked currants and slivered ginger are added, along with salt, pepper and a pinch of mace to softened butter, patted on top of the salmon and chilled. Once both the squares and the salmon have chilled (30 minutes), you brush the squares with egg yolk/water, put the salmon butter side down, wrap up in packages and chill again, seamside down, for another 30 minutes. Then bake at 400 degrees on a buttered baking sheet for 20 - 30 minutes - I did 30. He says the dish can be served with a sauce Messine or a hollandaise "lightened" with whipped cream, or just served as is with a wedge of lemon. I decided to forgo the sauce and forgot the lemon, but still absolutely wonderful. The salmon was moist and flavorful - a 6oz portion, with the added dough, was very filling. Served Goin's roasted beets and horseradish sauce on arugula as a salad that we ate as a separate course.

                  More discussion here, including JoanN's report:


                  Note: From comments from various UK posters, it appears that the globe ginger in sugar syrup was the right ginger to use.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I made this again last night, but this time I cut too deeply when scoring some of them and alot of the juices ran out. Also, it took almost 35 minutes for them to get properly browned, but I think that was my fault, as I put them to close together, such that I had to "cut through" the sides to seperate them. As a result, the pastry was a little mushy on the sides. However, it still tasted wonderful and my guests enjoyed it. I served with a quick saute of morels chanterelles, and blanched favas, peas and asparagus tips.

                  2. From Week In, Week Out (Old Report)

                    Chili Crab Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

                    This is apparently a salad that he replicated from the Oriental Hotel, which was served with pomelos, not grapefruit. The dressing is definitely a spicy Thai dressing:

                    Leaves of small bunch of cilantro
                    Leaves from 6 mint sprigs
                    2 cloves of garlic, chopped
                    4-5 small seeded and chopped green chilies (used two serranos and that was plenty hot)
                    1 T caster sugar
                    Juice of 4 large limes
                    8 T fish sauce
                    8 T tepid water

                    Mix together in food processor (or liquidiser, which is preferred, but I didn't check to see if that was a blender or something else!). Then you arrange "Little Gem" or similar lettuce (I used tender parts of Bibb lettuce), grapefruit segments, avocado (mine had lots of black spots, so the slices aren't too pretty), and white crabmeat (I used some inexpensive claw meat).

                    The next night, with the leftover lettuce, crabmeat, cilantro, mint and some of the dog's carrots, I made summer rolls, and when I went to make the dipping sauce, realized that the dressing from the night before would be perfect with them.

                    1. Poached Cod with Lentils and Salsa Verde (p. 49)

                      I liked this a lot; my husband however, was not at all pleased with the consistency of the poached cod (which was especially sad because this was supposed to be a special welcome home after a few days away dinner ... oh well). I personally thought the fish was gorgeously silky. Both of us did like the salsa verde a lot, although it is fairly similar to other SVs I've made before. I found the instructions for the SV a little silly - 10 basil leaves (I had some the size of my thumbnail and some the size of my thumb), 15 mint leaves ...

                      For the lentils, I couldnt' find the du Puy (not even at the local Whole Foods), so just went with organic. And when I went to make them I realized I didnt' have the cloves I thought I had. Oh well, the lentils were still very nice and a good, earthy accompaniment (sp?) to the fish and salsa verde. I served some roasted asparagus along with it all.

                      Dessert was rhubarb fool from Forever Summer (the rhubarb looked too good to pass up, and I've been dreaming about this stuff since making it last summer). Funnily enough, as I read the headnote of the recipe I saw that Nigella Lawson says "This recipe is not Simon Hopkinson's but is wholly, chest-swellingly inspired by it." Kismet!

                      14 Replies
                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Lucky you with the rhubarb - I've not seen any yet and want to make the "Fruit Fool" on p. 60. Saw some beautiful cod at the farmer's market last week - next week, I guess.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          The rhubarb down here has been beautiful. The fruit fool recipe in his book is very similar to the NL recipe, except he uses orange rind and she uses vanilla. The rhubarb fool is killer. Look forward to hearing about the fruit one.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            The shops are awash with rhubarb where I am - which is not far from the UK's "rhubarb triangle (


                            We've done "fool". We've done simply stewed and eaten with yoghurt (better than fool, IMO). What I think might work is to make it into a sauce for duck or fatty pork. Any thoughts?

                            1. re: Harters

                              I've made a rhubarb chutney, if that sounds interesting ....

                              (BTW - hope you will chime in on my pheasant cooking .... advice needed, I think!)

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                Thanks, Ruth. "Done" chutney a couple of years ago when there was some very cheap around at the "pick your own" farm a few miles away.

                                Off to your other thread to see if I can help


                                The PheasantMeister

                              2. re: Harters

                                I had a rhubarb and vanilla jam once in France that I've search all over for since but cannot find. It was absolutely incredible - the sweetness of the vanilla played so nicely off the tartness of the rhubarb. If anyone out there knows somewhere I can find some, please please please tell me.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  Rhubarb jam is very easy to make - normally paired with ginger round these parts, but I'm sure you could tinker with a recipe. Maybe use vanilla sugar?

                                2. re: Harters

                                  Harters: I had a terrific breakfast in Melbourne, AUS about 6 years ago which consisted of stewed rhubarb served over muesli and topped with yoghurt. I' loved it so much I've recreated it here in California many times.

                                  Is this something the Brits do as well?

                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                    Not a classic Brit breakfast - but certainly if there's leftover rhubarb and yoghurt, I'll have it.

                                    Muesli is my usual breakfast - normally with milk but I treat myself to yoghurt every couple of weeks or so. Basically if there's any soft fruit in the fridge, it'll go on breakfast - rhurbarb, berries, apricots, etc.

                                3. re: MMRuth

                                  MMRuth, I saw rhubarb in the Amish market the other day.

                                4. re: LulusMom

                                  Re: Lulu's Mom's post about lentils ala Hopkinson

                                  Interesting. One of my favorite Jamie Oliver recipes is salmon wrapped in prosciutto and roasted in a frying pan served with lentils mixed with spinach, herbs and yoghurt. Man, is that good! Learning from the Master.

                                  Also, it took me a long time to like cod because of that "slimy" texture. Now, I absoloutely adore it - even Black Cod (Butterfish) and can't understand how I ever spurned it.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    Do you peel the rhubarb in this dish? I'm going to make SH's for tomorrow - bought some rhubarb today.

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      No, you needn't peel the rhubarb (at least in the Nigella recipe) because after cooking it you strain it. Makes things a lot simpler. Good luck with it!

                                  2. Anchovy and Onion Tarts (p. 8)

                                    This was my first time making my own pastry (embarrassing admission, but true). I figured this was the perfect chance to just go ahead and do it. And guess what?? It worked! Not much help from SH, I have to say, but somehow it turned out ok (at one point he says "don't blend the two together in the normal way of pastry-making" which meant absolutely nothing to me). I started making it a day in advance, as he suggests. What I ended up with that day was a very wet blob ... his instructions to fold and lift could only be laughed at ... my stuff was neither foldable nor liftable at this point. But I persisted (although I *almost* threw it out). I went back to it a little later in the afternoon and rolled it out again, flour everywhere; did the same again yesterday afternoon and somehow it worked. My husband couldn't believe I'd never made pastry before when he tasted the tart.

                                    Onto the tart - I thought the 4 large onions made way too much onion mix for the 4 tarts (I froze some to use in a quiche or something later). The onion, anchovy and black olive flavor was wonderful; if you like salty things you'll love this.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      I've never made this kind of pastry either - did it come out like puff pastry? Sounds delicious. I've been erring on the side of using smaller "bunches"/onions/etc in his recipes. I get some onions that are just huge - I think the mussel soup recipe called for 2, and I used one huge one and it was plenty.


                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Wow - you've never made pastry before and you started with puff pastry! I'm seriously impressed. Well done, it sounds delicious.

                                        Re: the onions. I think an American large onion is probably a lot bigger than an English one. Supersize me, and all that!

                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                            Thanks Ladies! I have to admit that I gave myself a small pat on the back last night. It wasn't so much puff pastry as kind of like pie pastry, if you get what I mean about the difference. Sort of maybe a point in between? He *does* make it sound easy (although he has a funny line in there ... something like "now is the point when you wished you'd used frozen pastry"), and somehow it did work out, but not without a lot of anxiety on my part.

                                            Now I know about the onions. I mean, this was a HUGE amount of onion, and really double (at least) what I needed. But hey, it will save me some work some other time, so I wasn't upset about it. But I will take that into account in future recipes.

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              Lulu's Mom: Thank you for taking one for the team with this pastry! All I can think of is that when I make it I'll be able to say "No, don't give up. LM says it'll work out!'

                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                Oakjoan, I was actually channelling you, having read one of your posts about having learned fairly recently about pastry. You did me good! Like I said, it isn't the prettiest pastry in the world (at least mine wasn't) but it was good. I'm trying to figure out whether I want to dare the gods by trying again with the cepe tart ...