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March 2009/July 2012 COTM Fish Without a Doubt: Baking & Roasting, Searing & Sautéing, Frying

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**March 2009 Cookbook of the Month** is Fish Without a Doubt by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for baking and roasting, searing and sautéing, and frying here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Baked Scallops (page 217) with
    Porcini Butter (page 410)

    Quoting JoanN from http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/584841:

    "I made a half recipe of the Porcini Butter. You combine softened butter with dried porcini powder, truffle oil, sherry vinegar, and S&P, set it aside to mellow for an hour, then refrigerate. He doesn’t say to, but I rolled it into a log knowing I’d be using only a small amount and would want to freeze the rest.

    "Smear softened Porcini Butter on a gratin dish, put in scallops, smear more porcini butter on top, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and bake at 450F for 10 minutes."

    After JoanN and LulusMom raved about this recipe, it was on my 'to make' list for sure since I adore scallops. I should have looked at their pictures, though, since I was sure mine had gone terribly wrong when I opened the oven and could still see lumps of the porcini butter on the scallops. I had imagined the butter smeared on top would all melt and be bubbly, but only the porcini butter smeared on the bottom of the dish melted. Also, I couldn't manage to 'smear' even soft butter on the scallops, but ended up putting dollops on each instead. Which appears to be what they did too.

    My take: the flavors were great and the scallops were cooked beautifully. I gave them 10 minutes, then another 2 minutes (after checking and being dubious about the lumps of unmelted better), then let them rest a few minutes while plating the rest of the dinner.

    However, it was definitely more butter than I wanted to eat. And I really didn't like having the lumps of butter on top of the scallops. I served out the scallops with their lumps of butter then saved the melted butter remaining in the dish for another use (I'm thinking eggs!).

    What I think I'll try next time, is use only half the butter called for, melt it in advance, brush it on the dish, place the scallops in the dish, then drizzle the remaining butter over the scallops and sprinkle with the bread crumbs.

    No pictures, but they pretty much looked like theirs. I served mine with plain black rice which was great for mixing with the porcini butter.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Karen_Schaffer

      Yes, I definitely had leftover porcini butter. I think eggs is a great idea, or even some sort of stuffed pasta (if not another fish dish). My butter was pretty soft, so I didn't have a problem with smearing it, but can see what you mean.

      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

        I made the scallops with basil-sundried compound butter and the same thing happened to me. The butter just sat on the top of the scallops and did not melt at all. My butter was room temperature, so I thought 450F should melt it. When I saw the lumps at the end of 10 minutes, I gave it 2 extra minutes under the broiler, but that din't melt the butter either. I should have melted the butter as you suggested, but its too late now.

        Also I don't think this was a great combination, atleast for us. The scallops and tomato-basil-butter did not compliment each other.

        1. re: cpw

          Baked scallops with sun-dried tomato butter p.217

          As I reported in that section, I love this butter, a great combination of sun-dried tomatoes, basil and garlic. This made the dish for me. My scallops were big, meaty sea scallops and they held up to the flavors well. My butter melted fine but I had just made it that day and it hadn't been chilled which may have made the difference. The breadcrumbs on the top added a nice crunch.

          1. re: JaneEYB

            Very curious why the butter melts for some of us but not for others. Jane, I used mine immediately after making it, so chilling wasn't a factor. I was going to blame the porcini powder, but cpw had the problem with the sun-dried tomato version. I wonder if some of our powdered materials are drier than others so that they suck up anything that melts? Or somehow raise the melting temperature, since for me the butter that was directly on the baking dish melted, but not the butter lumps on the scallops.

        2. re: Karen_Schaffer

          Baked Scallops with Sun Dried Tomato Butter

          This was my second time cooking seafood period (first time was the Shrimp Scampi), and man did these come out nicely. The cooking directions for the scallops were really clear and they came out really nicely. The Sun-Dired Tomato Butter was also an excellent pairing with the Scallops as well.

          My only negative, like Karen, was that the Butter was touch to spread and a bit lumpy, but it was tasty enough that it was worth it.

           
          1. re: Karen_Schaffer

            Baked Scallops with Basil Butter, p. 409.

            My turn for this easy and quick recipe, which has been well-described above. My sea scallops were quite large, so I halved them, and they cooked through in the 10 minutes the recipe directed-also as directed, I let them sit off-heat for a few minutes before serving.

            The change I made in the recipe was to use the basil compound butter on p. 409, rather than the suggested sun-dried tomato or porcini butter, and I really liked the way the basil-garlic-butter flavor worked with the scallops. I had some left over from another recipe--about 3 TBs--so I cut the refrigerated butter into 1/4 inch pieces, placed about 1 TB of the pieces in the bottom of the pan, and scattered the other 2 TBs over the scallops underneath a blanket of dried breadcrumbs. The butter melted very satisfactorily! Don't know why it worked better than other folks' results. I did place the gratin dish pretty close to the top of the oven, watching carefully to be sure the crumbs didn't burn. I was ready to place a piece of foil over them if they seemed to brown too much before the scallops were cooked through, but didn't need to this time. Perhaps having the scallops so close to the heating element made the butter melt so well. Also, I was only using half the recommended 6 TBs that the original recipe asked for. It seemed like plenty to us.

            Anyway, we felt the the simplicity of the basil butter flavored only with garlic and s & p, was a nice
            complement to the scallops which let their sweetness shine through.
            Mr. Goblin loved it and didn't even ask for tartar sauce like he usually does with scallops.

          2. Sautéed Char with Hoisin Glaze and Wasabi Butter Sauce, Pg. 238

            This is a 4 part recipe and here's the order in which I made it:
            1. Wasabi Butter Sauce
            2. Hoisin Sauce
            3. Wilted Cabbage
            4. Sautéed Char
            5. Serve

            1. Wasabi Butter Sauce, Pg. 406:
            To the Basic Butter Sauce on pg. 402 the following ingredients are added:
            2 T Wasabi powder( I love this stuff!) moistened with 3 t dry vermouth, to make a paste. The wasabi paste is added the butter sauce and "zapped with an immersion blender." Keep it on a back burner till needed. (Yum)

            2. Hoisin Glaze, Pg. 439:
            The following ingredients are stirred together in a small bowl:
            2 T hoisin sauce, juice of 1/2 lime, 1 t honey, 1 pressed garlic clove, 1 T minced fresh cilantro. After combining, season with a bit of Kosher salt. (Yum Yum)

            3. Wilted Cabbage, Pg. 452
            One of the suggested side dishes to be used under the fish...
            Olive oil, shredded Savoy cabbage, 4 thinly sliced scallions, 2 t soy sauce, 1 t water are stir-fried for 30 seconds. The soy and water are added and all is stir-fried till the cabbage wilts. (Ho Hum.)

            4. Sautéed Char, Pg. 439:
            I had to substitute swordfish, one of the alternatives suggested.
            Each piece of fish is seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper and the skin side is lightly dusted with flour. (I used one pan for 2 pieces, if you're cooking 4 pieces per the recipe use 2 skillets.) The directions are rather specific for cooking the fish:
            heat a skillet over high heat, add olive oil, add the fish with floured side down, reduce heat to medium, press down on fish with a spatula to hear the sizzle which tells you that a crust is being formed. Then add a T of butter to the pan. When the butter melts, baste the fish and cook for 3 minutes. When the fish is almost cooked through turn over and turn off the heat. The fish sits for about 30 seconds then is transfered to paper towels.

            5. To serve:
            Place a portion of the Wilted Cabbage in the center of plate, set a piece of fish on top, brush the fish with the Hoisin Glaze, pour over the Wasabi Butter Sauce. Pour a great big glass of Gewürztraminer and enjoy!!

            14 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              What did you think of it? If I remember correctly, JoanN found it a littel too sweet (or was this a different recipe?). I like the idea of the wasabi butter.

              1. re: LulusMom

                We liked it very well. While I do not like overly sweet food, I thought this was not too sweet. The wasabi butter was fantastic! Perhaps I focused on that and perhaps I didn't brush on as much hoisin sauce as Joan did. I didn't read her report. It must be in the separate thread?????

                1. re: Gio

                  Yes, in the other thread.

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5848...

                  And a different recipe. The one I made was grilled, not sauteed, and no Wasabi Butter, which I'm sure I would like a great deal and might make all the difference.
                  Although frankly, considering that I don't think I've ever liked any sweet element with fish, I'd probably like it a lot better with just the Wasabi Butter.

              2. re: Gio

                Great report, and very helpful as I am about to start cooking the arctic char I bought last night. I was debating between this recipe and the one on the next page with moroccan spices. I think I am sticking to this one.
                Also, very helpful tips on what to start cooking first.

                1. re: Gio

                  I made the arctic char for lunch today and I am glad I did, it was very delicious!

                  I had few substitutions:
                  I made the butter sauce in food processor which is little tricky, but it worked (Processed it before adding the butter). Maybe the texture would have been better if I used the immersion blender, but since I have nothing to compare to, I liked it. I could'nt get myself to add 1 stick of butter, so I stopped at 3/4th. Also I added the jarred wasabi instead of the powder one.
                  In the hoisin glaze, I did not add the honey, as I got scared of the sweetness (isssue raised by LulusMom-thank you). I tasted the pre honey version and it tasted absolutely delicious-really yummy stuff.
                  I served with brussel sprouts, sauted as she suggests, and with roasted beets from sunday suppers.

                  This was the first time we had arctic char and I not sure any recipe will top this one for this fish.

                   
                   
                   
                  1. re: Gio

                    I made this dish and we loved it. I only made half portions of the hoisin glaze and wasabi butter sauce. I should have read the earlier reports about the hoisin glaze. When I did a quick taste, I found it a bit too sweet (shouldn't have added the honey). However, I added more lime juice and it became more palatable to me. Also, I added the full amount of cilantro as well.

                    The wasabi butter was fabulous - and my wasabi powder wasn't the freshest. Next time, I may add more to give it more of a kick. But, the reason why it went so well was the contrast of silky spicy wasabi butter to the mildly sweet cilantro hoisin glaze.

                    On top of that, the searing technique was fabulous. I used char and the skin was incredible. While I had great success roasting the fish to get it crispy, this was the first time I used fish that had the skin on it, and it was even better (it was kind of hard for me to fathom since I loved the roasting as well).

                    I also agree with Gio about the wilted cabbage. If I had known earlier, I would have used the other cabbage recipe. This was just an ok recipe and I upped the soy sauce for more flavor. In its defense though, the cabbage may have tasted better if I followed the instructions on plating - to place the fish and sauce over the cabbage. I had it on the side so it didn't get as much buttery fishy goodness as it should have.

                    Regardless, this was a marvelous recipe. And, the bonus was that it looks and tastes more complicated than it was. At first, I was put off bc the recipe kept sending me to other recipes. But, putting together the sauces took very little time in all and it was well worth the effort.

                    ETA: for the wasabi butter sauce, when I first tasted it, I was disappointed, then I realized I didn't add salt to it. Whoa, what a difference. Jfood notes the same below.

                    Note to self: re-read threads before shopping and cooking.

                    1. re: Gio

                      I made this with striped seabass last night and we both just loved it. I though the sauteeing techinque was wonderful, and the fish was perfectly done, though I did cook it slightly longer as my filets were bigger and thicker. That glaze is delectable. I had decided to serve it with bok choy before even having read the recipe (I knew I wanted to make that glaze), but just cut it into pieces and sauteed on high heat with peanut oil and garlic cloves. I didn't make the wasabi butter, but will next time, as my husband loves wasabi.

                      1. re: Gio

                        I made this tonight with some Wild Alaskan salmon. I kept the skin on the fish. Another new way to cook fish [I am really starting to love this book] that is quick, easy and results in delicious fish with great texture.

                        I made two changes.... no honey in the hoisin glaze and no wasabi butter. I served it with Cradle of Flavor Bok Choy with garlic and peppers and some jasmine rice. The bok choy was a great counterpoint to the sweetness of the hoisin glaze. This was a surprising dinner that we both enjoyed.

                        1. re: smtucker

                          Sauteed Char with Hoisin Glaze and Wasabi Butter Sauce, page 238

                          Should have read my own notes! Found some lovely wild salmon at Costco today. Back home, I chose this recipe [again, evidently.] Tonight we found it a bit too sweet though we didn't have the wasabi butter. Omitting the honey would have worked, or increasing the lime. but I served it with dry-fried green beans which had a very savory, spicy sauce, so it was all very delicious.

                        2. re: Gio

                          I just made this, as my first recipe from the book. What a great recipe! I was at first a little put off by all the 'redirects' to other sauce recipes. But they were so very simple, and the whole thing came together in no time. Only salmon was available from my market, so that is what I used. Not normally a fan of 'sweet and savory', I scaled back the honey to be added to the hoison sauce.
                          I made the butter sauce first and it was divine. Didn't even want to add the wasabi ( even though I love wasabi) for fear of corrupting it... but I did, just to faithful to the recipe.
                          Still recovering from extreme exhaustion, so just served this over salad greens. When I'm more energetic, I'll make the suggested accompaniment of sauteed bok choy or cabbage.
                          Also, my mom and sister are gluten intolerant ( I'm not, but I try to be prudent) so I skipped using the flour when searing the fish - this was not an issue for me at all.
                          To mitigate any unwanted sweetness, I squeezed some extra lime and added a dash of soy sauce ( rather than salt) to the wasabi butter sauce.
                          Overall this was very, very good. I enjoyed it tremendously and would definitely make it again. What's more - my mind is spinning with ideas for using the separate components in other ways. And I foresee many other uses for the butter sauce - it was so, so delicious.I froze the leftover and will use in good time.
                          I'm very glad I bought this book!
                          Can't wait to try more recipes....

                          1. re: Gio

                            Great recipe

                            Couple things that we learned which might be helpful

                            If the fish is in the fridge, make sure you let it sit out for an hour or two so the center is the same temp and the edges otherwise it will not cook in the center at the same pace as the edges

                            Don't press the flour into the skin just lightly dust it or you can get too much flour on the skin and it can burn (the flour not the fish skin)

                            Great recipe, try to get the good hoisen from the asian store vs the stuff safeway etc carries that makes a big difference - i dont think the hoisen is too sweet, but we love sweet and spicy - we did put the hoisen sauce on the side not directly on the fish so we could each control how much of the sauce we wanted

                            The butter sauce we poured / cooked with the bok choy and that gave it really great flavor - i liked the butter sauce seperate with the bok choy vs with the fish, as we butter sauted the fish to cook it in the pan

                            The Gewurztraminer wine goes really well with it, much better than the Chablis i tried, although it was a very good Chablis - not for this dish

                            Arctic Char could be our new favorite fish, it was our first time having it, and we felt it was better than a lot of restaurants we go do, and we did it at home - would highly recommend this dish and arctic char

                            1. re: Gio

                              Sautéed Char with Hoisin Glaze and Wasabi Butter Sauce, p. 238

                              I made this with sockeye salmon, skipped adding honey or salt to the hoisin sauce (plenty sweet already!), and didn't make the wasabi butter sauce. The hoisin sauce was tasty though a bit overwhelming to the salmon. I wonder if it would work to stir some wasabi powder into the hoisin sauce? I just couldn't bring myself to make a separate sauce, but I think it needs that pungent contrast.

                              Question: Those of you who have used this sauteeing technique with skin-on fish, do you serve the fish skin up? I brushed the hoisin sauce on the flesh side, so I left that side up. Then the skin on the bottom turned soggy with the juices, so we didn't eat it after all. But it didn't make sense to me to spread the hoisin sauce on the crispy skin either. The flesh was beautifully cooked, at least.

                              Served it with roasted gold zucchini and filet beans, which made for a lovely meal (sorry, no pix). Also, his "Mom's Cucumber Salad" which I complain about vigorously in another thread.

                              1. re: Gio

                                Sauteed Swordfisn with Hoisin sauce, p. 238.

                                My turn for this method and sauce (Hoisin, anyway.) I had the freshest, sweetest swordfish steaks, caught this morning, slightly pink in color and arriving from the Cape Cod Fish Share CSA already skinned. I decided to try the FWAD sautéing method this time (my last foray with swordfish was the broiling method on p. 129.) This method was equally good and easy. Basting with the hot butter (which became browned) helped to cook the fish and gave good flavor; I also think the instructions to blot the cooked fish on paper-towels briefly before serving was a good idea. It blotted up the extra browned butter and to my taste, made the fish just a bit "healthier."

                                I only made the Hoisin glaze on p. 439, since my husband is not a particular fan of wasabi. The glaze was just delicious. I didn't find it to be too sweet, perhaps because my squeezed half-lime was particularly plump! My admittedly simpler version of this recipe was light and satisfying and very quick to prepare. And Mr. Goblin said it was some of the best fish he ever had! I'll make the glaze again.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Sautéed (Salmon) with Hoisin Glaze, p. 238

                                  I didn't make the wasabi butter sauce, just did the (wild sockeye salmon in my case) and hoisin glaze. My fillets were skinless, but I went ahead and floured the skin side. This is an interesting technique, in that you really do see the fish cooking from the bottom up, as he says. And blotting the cooked fish really absorbs a lot of butter, so I didn't need to feel unvirtuous about it. Anyway, I thought it turned out very well. The sweetness of the hoisin glaze worked well with the salmon.

                                2. Mackerel with Puttanesca and Potatoes, Pg. 216

                                  Another multi part recipe. Here's the order in which I cooked:
                                  1. Potatoes
                                  2. Puttanesco Sauce
                                  3. Parsley/ Garlic Breadcrumbs
                                  4. Assemble dish & bake

                                  1. Small red potatoes are peeled, boiled till just tender, drained then sliced.
                                  I did not peel, but sliced and steamed them.

                                  2. Puttanesca Sauce, Pg. 430
                                  Cook 1 cup chopped onion in hot olive oil for about 7 minutes. (I used about 2 cups sliced leeks because I wanted to use them up). The recipe calls for 1/4 cup chopped garlic but given past experience with the amount of recommended garlic I chopped 4 cloves. A small tin of anchovies and a "good pinch of crushed red pepper" are added to the pot and all is cooked till the anchovies are melted. Add 3 cups of chopped tomatoes 1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives and 1/4 cup drained capers. The heat is reduced and the sauce is simmered for 15-ish minutes or till "thick and fragrant." (I could not find the jar of capers I *knew* was in the pantry so I poured about 2 T of red wine vinegar into the tomato can and swished it around a bit then added it to the sauce). This sauce was delicious and I can see using it for just about anytime a spicy red sauce is wanted.

                                  Breadcrumbs:
                                  While the sauce is cooking make the bread crumb mixture by chopping a bit of parsley to make 2 T, press 2 cloves of garlic and add in a small bowl along with 2 t olive oi.

                                  4. Assemble and Bake:
                                  Although the recipe calls for 4 6 - 7 oz. of Mackerel fillets, which have been at the market every time I've gone for the last 300 years, there was None so I boughtTilapia, 6 small fillets.
                                  So.... preheat oven at 450. Oil the bottom of gratin dishes, one for each serving....
                                  I used a 9" X 9" casserole dish. Place the sliced potatoes on the bottom and drizzle with
                                  4 T dry vermouth.
                                  Season the fish with salt & white pepper. Lay the fish on top of the potatoes and cover all with the Puttanesca sauce. Sprinkle the crumbs over all and set in oven to bake for about 12 minutes.. I think we went for 15 min.

                                  This dish was very tasty and we liked it very much. I could not detect the vermouth. I suppose it's because the potatoes absorbed it, but the sauce is so full of flavor that became the predominate taste. Frankly, I can see the potatoes and the sauce used alone or with simple sauteed chicken breasts then finished en casserole in the oven.....Oh - or even grilled eggplant in the middle... maybe.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I had some problems with the Mackerel (Bluefish)with Puttanesca and Potatoes. (Not the taste of it; it tasted great). First, I didn’t precook my potatoes long enough and second, I didn’t cut the bluefish fillet in half and make it in separate gratin dishes as he recommends so it was a real mess to serve. Because the puttanesca sauce and bread-crumb topping covers everything, I couldn’t see to cut the fish into two servings. I’m guessing Gio didn’t have this problem with the tilapia fillets since they were skinless and probably broke apart easily when cut into.

                                    This recipe is somewhat similar to a recipe from James Peterson, Baked Whole Sea Bass with Potatoes, that’s a standard at my house. Peterson layers uncooked potatoes with thyme, garlic, olive oil and S&P and bakes them for 20 minutes to get a head start on the fish. I think I’m going to use that technique for this recipe just because it’s always worked for me before, it uses one less pot, and it gets a lot more flavor directly into the potatoes. Instead of a full-blown puttanesca sauce, Peterson just puts the fish on top of the potatoes and arranges chopped tomatoes and olives around it. There’s no anchovies, no capers, and no bread-crumb topping as with Moonen, but the Peterson recipe is for a milder fish. .The much more assertive puttanesca was just perfect with the bluefish—a real winner of a combination. I was out of bread crumbs so I used panko and I did like the added crunch as well as the additional hit of garlic.

                                    Since I don’t have individual gratin dishes, what I’ll probably do next time I’m making two servings is cut the potatoes much thinner and cook them a la Peterson for 20 minutes before making two separate mounds of potatoes, fish, sauce, and topping in a single baking dish so I can lift out an entire serving with a spatula.

                                    I couldn’t detect the vermouth, either, Gio. And I was disappointed since I’d bought some specifically for this dish. And I agree, too, that you could probably substitute sautéed or baked chicken breasts with excellent results.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Wonder why the pic didn't post? Trying again.

                                       
                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        IIRC, I placed the fillets across the baking dish, not lengthwise. Therefore I didn't have any trouble serving. Also, you seem to have had more breadcrumbs than I did. I reread my post and I see that I didn't write the quantity in the recipe, But more of the sauce showed in my baking dish... guess I was stingy with the crumbs. We live about 4 hours north of you but won't see Bluefish in the market till summer!!

                                        I hate to admit it to You, Joan, LOL... but I have the Peterson book too and now after your description I have to try the recipe for Baked Whole Sea Bass.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Ah. That makes sense. I just had one big hunk of bluefish and plunked it down in the center of the potatoes. I just wasn't thinking the whole thing through.

                                          As for quantities, I must say I was pretty much eyeballing everything rather than measuring, but I only made half a cup of crumbs for half the recipe so the proportion of crumbs to fish and sauce should have been about right. I think, though, that stingy might be more than enough and will make a note in the book to halve the bread-crumb topping next time.

                                          I bought the bluefish yesterday from the fisherman who caught it and he told me they're just beginning to see them. He said he'd caught only two so far. So I'm sure you're right that it will be a while before we see it in the markets.

                                          That Peterson recipe has been a go-to for me for longer than I can remember. I love that it's a quick and easy one dish meal and I can always get the ingredients at the last minute. Helps, too, that my BF from London loves it so I make it for him whenever he comes to visit. Hope you like it as well.

                                    2. Sounds good Gio. I would think that a robust oily fish like mackerel would probably work better than tilapia though. What do you think?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        Oh yes, I agree GG. The tilapia was completely lost in the sauce. A nice place to be, though....
                                        I intend to be on the look out for mackerel and will make the recipe again when I find it.

                                      2. Broiled Fish Fillets with Butter and Herbs (pg. 122)

                                        We liked this very much but I had some very slight technical difficulties in making the dish. I used very thin flounder fillets and had enough for three servings. So, I slightly modified the amounts of butter and herbs.

                                        It's a pretty easy recipe: chop herbs (parsley and chives) and melt butter in separate dishes. Dip the fish into the butter and sprinkle herbs on top. Lastly, sprinkle bread crumbs (I used panko) and broil.

                                        My problem was that my fish fillets were still too cold. So, when I dipped the fillets into the butter, it immediately congealed on the fish and the resting plate. When I lifted the fillet into the pan, most of the butter on the bottom of the fillet, stayed on the plate. Regardless, it was delicious.

                                        I really liked the preheating the pan under the broiler. I used a flat cast iron skillet and don't know why I don't do this more often. After all, this is the Zuni roast chicken way. But, slight technical difficulty here too. After placing the fillet into the skillet, the whole thing started smoking. I put the skillet under the broiler for under two minutes which was still too long. There was slight sticking to the pan but I easily scraped the crispy bits off. My second batch, for about a minute, didn't stick and was perfect.

                                        Overall, I enjoyed this dish and it was a quick easy dinner.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                          I'm loving this book, but if I got nothing from it other than the preheat-the-pan-under-the-broiler method of broiling fish it would have been worth the price of admission. I've only done it so far with skin-on fillets, and the crispy fish skin is as much a revelation as the chicken skin is in Zuni.

                                          I had some difficulty with the bread crumbs burning ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5848... ). Doesn't sound as though you did. I, however, didn't have the smoking problem, and both times I tried this I let the cast iron skillet heat up under the broiler for the full 15 minutes he recommends. I imagine it's all just a question of getting to know your broiler and getting to know your pan. But it's well worth it. I doubt I'll ever use another method for broiling fish ever again.

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            I did the full 15 minutes and probably then some. I think the smoking thing if because I have some kind of oil (either butter or olive) on the bottom of the fillet before placing it into the pan. The sear is intense. And, I've used skinless fillets, but damn, that crunchy stuff is so good.

                                            Now that I'm thinking about it, I think my rack may be too close to the broiler. I saw some flames shoot off the side when I put it into the oven. Didn't effect the taste at all though.

                                            ETA: my bread crumbs may have been slightly scorches, but there weren't that many on there to make a difference.

                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                              Apologies. Read your post too quickly and misattributed the cause of the smoking.

                                              My skillet was most definitely too close to the broiler. I think that with broiling, more than any other cooking method, one-size instruction just does not fit all. The same timing and distance just cannot work for both gas and electric. It may take a bit of fiddling to figure out what works best with your equipment, but the experiments sure are tasty.

                                        2. Broiled Fish Fillets with Compound Butter (pg. 124)

                                          I loved, loved, loved this dish. JoanN reported this on the original thread, but I'm too lazy to find it.

                                          But, it's such a versatile recipe in fish choices and compound butter choices. A fish and butter mix and match.

                                          Anyway, I chose the porcini butter which has ground porcini mushrooms, truffle oil, sherry vinegar and salt and pepper. My porcini butter was really soft so I was able to spread it on my tilapia fillets.

                                          An interesting thing is that the author has you slice the tilapia (and catfish fillets) down the center seam. I did it, and it was fine, but don't really see it as necessary.

                                          Anyway, for the broil, I had the same smoking, sticking and overcooking problem with the first batch (as reported above). The second batch came out perfectly. But, the sticking isn't that big of a deal because the crispy bits are wonderful.

                                          So much umami goodness into this dish. I'm looking forward to making it again. I suspect I'll have a hard time spreading the butter since I put it in the freezer but dabbing it on will be just fine.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                            Hi beetlebug,
                                            Can you please advice what kind of store did you find porcini powder - regular grocery store or some ethnic one.
                                            TIA!

                                            1. re: cpw

                                              Not beetlebug here, but I made my own porcini powder. I just put some dried porcinis in the dedicated coffee grinder that I use as a spice grinder and let 'er rip. In fact, I think this is the only way to do it. I don't think I've ever seen porcini powder sold commercially.

                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                I made my own porcini powder as well. I ground it in a mortar and pestle since I don't have a spice grinder/coffee grinder. (Sad face.)

                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                  I didn't have one either. I used this as an excuse to remedy the situation (always nice to have an excuse).

                                              2. re: cpw

                                                I ordered mine from http://www.igourmet.com. It was $2.00 more when I ordered it last summer ($11.99 instead of $9.99). Hmph! Great flavor, nice fine texture. I know I could have made my own, but I treated myself.

                                                I tried to link to the product, but got a generic page. Just do a search for porcini powder.

                                                1. re: cpw

                                                  Also not beetlebug but I did the same thing JoanN did ... just zapped it in my spice grinder. Took less than a minute.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Thanks JN, BB, KS, LM! Knowing this makes life so much easier, I don't have to go store to store looking for the powder. Now all I have to do is go shopping for dried porcini. And, I do have a dedicated coffee grinder.

                                                2. re: beetlebug

                                                  My second time with this dish was not as successful. This time, I used catfish fillets and I didn't slice it down the center seam. I suspect that this may have been the culprit, although I don't know why it would make the difference.

                                                  When I broiled the fish, it threw off a lot of water. Very odd. This dish was still delicious (it's the porcini butter) but this time, I lacked the crisp bottom. Maybe it's because I used defrosted butter, or maybe it was because I didn't slice it down the middle (I wanted one fillet on my plate and not two).

                                                  Regardless, I still am really enjoying this book.

                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                    I doubt it was the butter; I’ve used the frozen porcini butter a number of times and never had any problems with it. And I just can’t see how cutting a fillet in half could possibly have made a difference. There’s some substance in fish that usually coagulates when the fish is cooked but fails to do so when the fish has been kept too long resulting in a watery exudate. Is it possible your fish wasn’t as fresh as it usually is?

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      Maybe the fish wasn't as fresh. That explanation makes sense. Although, it looked really nice and I bought it from the local fishmonger.

                                                      Well, it still tasted delicious and neither of us got sick so it's still a win win in my book.

                                                3. I can't believe no one has tried the Chicken-fried Trout! That's first on my list! I know, I know, I'm so healthy... try not to be too envious of my healthful lifestyle! ;-)

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                    I have a feeling there was a report on this on the original Fish Without a Doubt thread - a rave review if I'm remembering correctly (but after 12 hours in a car, my brain is mush, so maybe not). You might want to check that thread and see.

                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      You were right... bayoucook made it and raved about it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5848...

                                                  2. Sauteed Char (Salmon) with Moroccan Spices and Harissa Tomato Sauce (p. 239)

                                                    This was the first recipe that wasn't an out of the ballpark hit for me. The harissa tomato sauce, however, was a total hit, and I'm trying to figure out how to serve the leftovers - I'm thinking over maybe a bit of penne, but honestly both Lulu and I were eating it straight out of the pot with a spoon. I was just home from a few days away, so cheated and used store bought harissa, but it was still delicious. In anticipation of making this I had made the moroccan spice mix before leaving so this was all very easy to put together. I used frozen skinless salmon, and my husband says that is why I didn't love it - just not very tasty or juicy fish. But I'm not sure that was all. I tend to love moroccan food, and somehow the salmon just didn't work with these spices for me.

                                                    You make the spice mix and rub it on the fish (char, salmon or even catfish or tilapia), then sear in a pan for a very short amount of time. Serve on a bed of the tomato sauce and lentils or canned chickpeas. I decided to go with the flexitarian roasted chickpea and couscous side instead, and loved that as always.

                                                     
                                                    15 Replies
                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      Well that certinaly Looks delicious, LLM. I'll probably make it before the month is out. But, his substitue fish is disparate I think. Tilapia tastes nothing like salmon, in my estimation. It's curious that I can't find Artic Char in this neck of the woods... so I'll have to use either catfish or tilapia again. Or perhaps I'll just use what ever looks good at the market the day I do cook it.

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        Why thank you Gio! I think tilapia would be a better fit, somehow. The tomato sauce (and that was something I slightly cheated on too ... I used a simple can of diced tomatoes without draining instead of the pomi brand) is nice and spicy and delicious.

                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                        This is great news. I have some harissa left in the fridge and was thinking of making the Harissa Tomato Sauce, but wasn't sure what to do with it. If if's that good, I'm sure I could serve it with any simply cooked fillet and some rice and it would be terrific. Thanks for the inspiration.

                                                        ETA: Just picked up some hours-old flounder fillets at the farmers market, so I know what's for dinner tonight!

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          It sure looks delicious! I am so glad you tried this recipe and this is on my 'to-make' list; so your loving it is quite an inspiration. Though I am not sure that I can make my toddler try it-she isn't eating well this month (well so is my husband, but that's another story)

                                                          1. re: cpw

                                                            Just to be clear ... I loved the harissa tomato sauce, but the salmon with the spices didn't totally win me over. Sorry to hear about the toddler - these things pass, if that helps. One of the hardest things for me has been learning to not stress over seeing food I've made for Lulu just sit there (she's a very adventurous eater, but not a big eater).

                                                            I think the sauce would be great over rice or really any starch at all. I thought maybe it would be good to try chicken this way, using up some of the leftover spice mix and just making up a new batch of the sauce.

                                                            Hope you both enjoy.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              Thanks! Hopefully I will find Char at my nearby fish market (I just discovered that I have one).
                                                              My little girl is not so adventurous - her favourite food is plain white rice.

                                                          2. re: LulusMom

                                                            Has anyone found the baklouti peppers around Boston? Penzeys didn't have it, but haven't investigated much past them.

                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                              Hi sm...
                                                              I don't know where you can find the Bakloutis around Bosxton but -
                                                              I do know they are a rather new introduction to the hot pepper seed markets even though they are a traditional Tunisian pepper. I think you can substitute any hot to medium hot pepper.. Are you making Harissa?

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                I was thinking about it. My pepper knowledge isn't thorough enough to start substituting but this doesn't seem to be a common pepper.

                                                              2. re: smtucker

                                                                I used guajillos to make the harissa and it was terrific. He says you can mail order the baklouti's from Kalustyan's, but they're not listed on their Web site and I haven't had a chance to get down there and look for them.

                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                  Ah, the luxury of getting down to Kalustyan's! We've got lots of great stuff out here, but nothing as wonderful as Kalustyan's.

                                                              3. re: LulusMom

                                                                The Tale of the Ongoing Leftovers

                                                                I had some leftover Harissa (page 443). LulusMom’s rave for the Harissa Tomato Sauce (page 429) sounded right up my alley. In order to make the Harissa Tomato Sauce you first have to make the Moroccan Spice Mix (page 440). So I made the spice mix, then made the tomato sauce. I served the tomato sauce over rice with a simply broiled flounder fillet. Loved the sauce, but it was waaay too spicy. Not sure if I had too heavy a hand with the harissa or it was just that my harissa was extremely hot. Probably a combination of both.

                                                                So now I had leftover too-spicy Harissa Tomato Sauce and leftover Moroccan Spice Mix. I rubbed the spice mix onto a couple of bone in chicken breasts and baked them for 45 minutes. I added another can of chopped tomatoes to the tomato sauce and heated it up. When the breasts were cooked, I tried a sample. Oh! My! The chicken breasts with the spice rub were so good, I just ate one of them plain. Never even got to the sauce; put it into the fridge. Had one breast left.

                                                                Now I’ve got leftover hopefully tamed-down tomato sauce and a leftover chicken breast. I cut the chicken meat off the bone and cubed it, simmered it for only a minute in already simmering tomato sauce, and served it on rice. Really, really good. And I still have more tomato sauce and spice mix to play with.

                                                                So then I made the Sauteed Char (Steelhead Trout) with Moroccan Spices, Lentils, and Harissa Tomato Sauce. Unlike LulusMom, I thought this was another great dish and that the Moroccan spices were perfect with the Steelhead trout. Maybe I just had a better piece of fish. And I loved the lentils with it. They’re plain, just cooked then rewarmed in butter. But they were a marvelous foil for both the fish and the spicy tomato sauce.

                                                                Okay. I acknowledge it. I’ve turned from an unbiased tester into a full-blown proselytizer. But so many side recipes in this book have been the gift that just keep on giving. Both the Harissa and the Moroccan Spice Mix are going to get a lot of use in this house. Very happy camper here.

                                                                 
                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                  (warning: martinis in action - never drink and post) - I'm really glad you liked the fish with the spices. When we had the cioppino I said to my husband "another big hit - the only one I haven't loved from this book is the moroccan salmon." And he shook his head vehemently (um, martinis -sp?) and said "No no, that was really good." So we, too, are full blown prosel-ers (oh, never mind). But to be honest, I do think I'd like this preparation better on chicken breasts than on the fish, for whatever reason.

                                                                  Our sauce was pretty spicy, but not what I'd call too spicy. But then again we used store bought harissa (although I did add extra crushed red pepper). I had a bit of the leftover sauce on some penne and it was heavenly. I hope, JoanN, that your extra tomatoes calmed it down enough that you can fully enjoy.

                                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                                  OK, so last time I somehow didn't think the moroccan spices worked well with the salmon I used, although I loved the harissa tomato sauce. But yesterday my husband came home with some lovely char and said to me "I'm going to grill this - would you like an indian or a cajun spice mix rubbed on it?" and bingo - I remembered the moroccan spice mix that I still had on my shelf. I suggested it, and oh-my, it was perfect on the char and on the grill. No sauce this time, but none needed. Anyway, please discount my previous poo-poos about this not going with salmon. Obviously it had to do with the frozen stuff I was using (I should learn, but that was after a trip away and I needed to have stuff ready in the house). Sorry no picture, but it looked so pretty with the reddish-pink color of the char and the red tint of the spice mix. Served with roasted asparagus and mashers (he is the god of mashed potatoes), and it was better than most meals we can get out.

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    Sauteed char (salmon) with Moroccan spices, lentils, and harissa tomato sauce p.239

                                                                    This was a much more time consuming dish than I had envisaged as I had to make some of the components from scratch - Moroccan spice mix, harissa, But if you had these to hand it could be a weeknight dinner. I didn't have great success with the tomato sauce (see my report in Sauces) but overall I liked this combination of the spiced salmon, lentils and sauce. Based on the reports here I think I'm going to try the sauce again - it would be a good standby to have frozen in individual portions in the freezer . With the spice mix already made now that would become a very doable quick dinner.

                                                                  2. Sautéed Turbot with Leeks and Red Wine Butter Sauce, Pg. 233

                                                                    Please note:
                                                                    I 1/2'd the recipe and subbed Wild Alaska Salmon per the suggested substitutes.

                                                                    1. Red Wine Butter Sauce, Pg. 407
                                                                    1 cup sliced shallots, 3 sprigs thyme, and 1 1/2 cups dry red wine are brought to boil in a small saucepan. The heat is lowered and the wine is simmered till reduced to about 2 Ts. 1/2 cup ruby port is added and reduced to 1/3 cup. Thyme is removed, heat is turned to very low and the shallots are pureed with an immersion blender. As the shallots are being pureed 2 sticks of unsalted butter ( I used only 1 !), cut into tablespoons, are added bit by bit till all is incorporated. The sauce is strained, returned to the pan and Kosher salt & ground white pepper are whisked in then 1 T balsamic vinegar. A very sassy sauce this and v. yummy.

                                                                    2. Basic Leeks, Pg. 462
                                                                    For the full recipe 5 large leeks are sliced in half lengthwise then into half rounds and washed very well. 4 T butter + 2 cups water with some Kosher salt are brought to the boil in a skillet. The leeks are added and covered with a piece of parchment cut to fit. After this comes to the boil again heat is reduced and the leeks are simmered for about 5 minutes. Drain before serving.

                                                                    3. Sautéed Salmon
                                                                    This seems to be his standard procedure for sautéing any fish fillets or steaks. Salt and pepper the fish, lightly dust with flour the skin/skinned side, heat the pan, add the oil, drop in the fish, listen for the sizzle while pressing down with the spatula and flip to other side. I can type this from memory.

                                                                    4. To serve:
                                                                    Place a serving of leeks in the middle of the plate,
                                                                    Place fish on top of leeks,
                                                                    Drizzle the sauce around the fish.
                                                                    We served steamed rice as a side.

                                                                    Loved, loved, loved this recipe! Absolutely delicious and will absolutely make it again and again. I usually do not make a sauce such as this one, but can definitely see how it really does enhance and adds another dimension to the dish. We're loving this book, even though we have to search for the exact type of fish we want. I gave the fish monger 5 alternatives and the only fish he had that we could use was the salmon. It worked out very well.

                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      Great report, and so glad you liked it. I've got this on my "to make" list.

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                        Thanks LLM. The Jasmine rice was a perfect counterpoint and absorbed some of the sauce to make it taste even better than usual. I think I'm all leeked out, though. Every other recipe I've made since last Friday has had leeks as one of the ingredients. And these were giganticus. There are 3 still in the fridge.....

                                                                        Edit...
                                                                        I've been trying for 1/2 hour to reply to this post! Arrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!

                                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                                        Thanks for the specific measurements in this recipe Gio. I don't have the book, so I'm going to follow your instructions. That red wine beurre blanc sounds delicious, and I love leeks.

                                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                                          It *was* delicious Rubee and there's mot a crumb left, though I thought there would be.
                                                                          Let me know if you need further clarifications.....

                                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                                          I think I made a similar leek dish, sticking them in my Le Creuset and then covering with parchment and cooking slooooowly -- recipe from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen in January 2008. I will have to check when the book is in front of me. :) That recipe also called for the tiniest amount of rice cooked in with the leek-y broth. Yay for leeks!

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            I just made Sautéed Mystery Fish with Leeks and Red Wine Butter Sauce, Pg. 233
                                                                            also served with a little rice next to the bed of leeks and red wine/port/shallot reduction.
                                                                            SO loved it. I've never had red wine based sauce with white fish, nor have I ever made a red wine reduction exactly. I liked it, not loved it - but it's nice to stretch and try something totally different. The wine sauce is grapey and a little sweet (I used a Malbec that tasted really nice -- I'm surprised at the sweetness) but it all comes together really well.
                                                                            And I didn't have any balsamic, so I used sherry vinegar.

                                                                            The main thing I learned was the fish cooking technique, as Gio details above. Perfect.
                                                                            And I love leeks.

                                                                            1. re: pitu

                                                                              OH I'm so glad you like this Pitu!! I'm so weight & health conscious that I hardly ever use sauces to finish a dish.

                                                                              It's so difficult trying to find just the right fish to use when you must substitute. This week Dover sole and Pollack are on sale in my area. I have the recipe for the sole.... but now i'm on a quest to see how I can use the pollack..... I think I can use it instead of cod which we're not buying this year.

                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                : )
                                                                                I also like the leek cleaning technique - cut them up, swish in a bowl of cold water, let the grit settle, and pick the clean leeks off the top. I do this with spinach, and don't know why until now I've done a more complicated rinse that looks like a newspaper-roll-palm-tree under running water . . .
                                                                                right, that's the delicious braise from Goins - the leeks need to not be cut into rings

                                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                                              Sautéed [Salmon] with Leeks and Red Wine Butter Sauce p. 233

                                                                              I used salmon for this turbot dish also. My source (Whole Foods) has vacuum packed frozen salmon fillets which are actually quite nice, frozen on the boat I understand, 'though that could be an old fishwife wive's tale.
                                                                              The leeks are easily prepared -- Gio, do you know why the parchment is used? Why not just a lid?
                                                                              The fillets were salted and peppered and floured (to get the skin crispy) and they cooked quickly in oil and butter. I loved the fish with the wine sauce (my take here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600179#)
                                                                              and I loved the fish with the leeks.
                                                                              One small note--I'm not crazy about the way that purple sauce (luscious as it is) looks next to the orange fish.
                                                                              Would anytime make this again. I've never had turbot, but if that's the first choice for this cookbook entry it might be worth seeking out.

                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                Blue Room, parchment paper acts as a barrier between the pan and the food being cooked to prevent the food from sticking or burning.

                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                  Oh, I put the parchment *over* the leeks, not between the pan and the leeks.

                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                    My brain was working backward, blueroom. I typed my response in Notepad but only copied half of it. I'm so sorry. Parchment paper is used both for preventing baked goods from sticking and also to allow food cooked stove-top to retain moisture without drips from a lid which would dilute the flavors.... So you were absolutely correct.
                                                                                    Please forgive me for confusing you..

                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                      Another use for parchment paper. I'd never heard of it used this way. Thanks.

                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                Sautéed Salmon (Turbot with Leeks and Red Wine Butter Sauce), Pg. 233

                                                                                We were gifted with 4 large, thick, fatty, skin on wild Alaskan salmon fillets so just wanted to do a very simple recipe and this was perfect. I made the full recipe during the first FWAD COTM (report upthread) and knew this method of cooking would be just the thing. Followed Moonen's directions for sauteing, one I've been using since 2009: Salt and pepper the fish, lightly dust with flour the skin/skinned side, heat the pan, add the oil, drop in the fish, listen for the sizzle while pressing down with the spatula and flip to other side. Cook till done (we like ours a little rare in the middle), remove to paper towels. Of course the fillets were absolutely delicious. Served with sweet as sugar roasted beets from our CSA, Massachusetts early corn on the cob, and wasabi mayo.

                                                                              3. Tandoori sable (p 188)

                                                                                My last chance to cook from this book before I head off to Greece tomorrow for the rest of the month. I gave Mr GG the choice between this and the mussels in black bean sauce and he chose this one. We don't have sable in this country so I used the suggested substitute of salmon.

                                                                                The preparation is very simple - melt a tbsp of butter or ghee and mix in some tandoori paste (I thought I had some but it turned out to be tikka masala so I used that) and yoghurt. Marinate the salmon fillets for an hour in the spice mixture. Scrape most of the paste off the fish when ready to cook then sear in a tbsp of butter in a hot cast iron pan. Finish in a hot oven for 3-5 mins depending on the thickness of the fillet. I cooked mine for 4 mins and it was perfect. I served the fish with steamed rice, broccoli and the suggested tzatskiki.

                                                                                We both liked this very much, and the tzatsiki got us in the mood for Greece. Simple and delicious -- perfect for an after-work supper. I'd use the suggested tandoori paste next time.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                  Made this with Salmon since that is what's available now. The last time I had tandoori was on chicken and was not sure it would be good on fish - but I liked it. Made the tzatskiki from The Olive and The Caper and served with rice and a salad. This was tasty - a definite repeat for me.

                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    Tandoori (Salmon), p. 188

                                                                                    I made this with sockeye salmon. My tandoori paste is quite spicy, which is fine for me but would've been too much for the person I was sharing with so I used a bit less than called for. The cooking went fine and I found it very nice. Will no doubt repeat. Served with suggested tzatziki and a chard and couscous dish from Cook This Now.

                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                      Tandoori Sable, p. 188

                                                                                      I scored a nice piece of sablefish (a.k.a. black cod, a.k.a Alaskan butterfish), a fish I've only had in restaurants before last night. In need of a quick-cooking meal, I decided to revisit this dish since he intends it for sable. My fillet wasn't very thick, so I dispensed with the oven and simply seared it for a few minutes on each side. It was barely cooked through (which was my intention) and had the silky texture I've experienced before. It was a very nice meal, however I think the tandoori marinade works better with salmon than with the more delicately flavored sable.

                                                                                  2. Sautéed Char with Hoisin Glaze and Wasabi Butter Sauce (p. 238)

                                                                                    This is Jfood's first post for the COTM threads after looking through many opportunities over the past several months. And after taking this cookbook out of a local library he is glad he tried it. In fact while having a sundae for dessert at a local bar, he and Mrs. Jfood decided they should buy this book.

                                                                                    Jfood decided to use salmon instead of Char for the recipe since Mrs. Jfood is not a huge fan of Char. He purchased about a 14-ounce filet for the 2 of them. Now onto the recipe.

                                                                                    Wasabi Butter Sauce – This recipe is interesting as it first “simmers” butter, thyme and shallots and then blends together. Jfood's one comment would be that using an immersion blender for this amount of liquid is nonsense. Jfood used his mini-food processor, but would also suggest a blender. Likewise the recipe calls for using an immersion blender to combine the wasabi powder and vermouth, Jfood used a butter knife. He also used a whisk for emulsifying the butter. You MUST add the salt or the sauce is very flat. A little black pepper is also recommended.

                                                                                    Hoisin Glaze – This recipe is a true keeper. If Jfood could give higher than a 10, he would, it is outstanding. And it takes about 5 minutes to make.

                                                                                    Preparation – Jfood saw this method of searing and spooning butter over the top in a restaurant in MSP a couple of months ago and was intrigued since that meal was perfect. So Jfood took his oval pan, added the EVOO and sprinkled the fish with salt, pepper and flour. Then he placed the fish in the pan, pushed as suggested in the recipe and added the butter. He started the spooning process and was a bit nervous at the beginning, nothing seemed to color the top of the salmon as he witnessed in MSP. But he kept going. After a few minutes he noticed something very interesting. The fat from the salmon started to render and there was more “butter” to use over the top of the fish. Then he noticed that when he spooned the butter it started foaming on the top of the fish. Very interesting. When the fish was perfecting crusted he flipped. WOW this looked great. He spooned only a couple of times while side 2 was browning. He removed and plated. He spooned the Hoisin Glaze and then drizzled the Wasabi Butter Sauce on top. It was a beautiful contrast of pink, dark brown and a lemony yellow. The textures were fantastic as well with the crispy crust of the salmon, the moist interior and the smooth glazes. Then the flavors took over with the spicy wasabi, the sweet Hoisin and the flavorful salmon.

                                                                                    This dish is now on Jfoods rotation for Sunday dinners. A perfect 10+

                                                                                    As a side, Jfood also made the Basic Bok Choy – p. 451

                                                                                    Very easy. When Jfood reheated though he kept the Bok Choy in the pan until he obtained a little color from the butter. A perfect side dish to the dish above.

                                                                                    Thanks to all for choosing the book. Hopefully next weekend another try, but Passover may keep the Jfoods busy.

                                                                                    Ciao

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                      Welcome to COTM Jfood! Glad you liked the sauteed Char (Salmon). I made it the first week but subbed swordfish and still it was delicious. It was the first time I had wasabi butter and just loved it. I think you'll find many very good recipes in this book. Tasty, quick and easily found ingredients. This month I think I've cooked more from this book than all the other COTMs we gone through. Hope you'll try to continue to join us!

                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                        jfood, welcome to COTM. That salmon with the hoisin glaze sounds delicious indeed. What restaurant in MSP used this technique?

                                                                                        Unfortunately, I had to return my FWAD from the library a couple of weeks ago, so, haven't been cooking from it. But, based on the couple of recipes that I tried, and liked, and the consistent raves the book has been getting from others, I will definitely check the book out again and add it to my "wish list" of books.

                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          Alma uses this technique in the poultry dish they made jfood in January. That guy can really cook.

                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                            Ah, yes, Alex Roberts, a nominee for a James Beard award this year. Roberts has earned his following.

                                                                                            I will definitely try this technique.

                                                                                            Thanks again,

                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            I'm in love with this book. I don't eat much red meat, and very, very rarely cook it, so we have a lot of seafood dinners around here, so the quantity and quality of the recipes in this book are very much appreciated. I'll be trying new things (and revisisting things I've made) for a long time.

                                                                                        2. Sauteed Char with Soy-Orange Sauce (p. 237)

                                                                                          This method of cooking char is perfect - the char was the silkiest I've ever had. I will say that the skin didn't get as crispy as he says it will, but I think that is most likely because I hadn't let the pan get hot enough before adding the fish. We liked the soy-orange sauce, but I don't think I'd bother making it again. I used blood oranges and added a bit extra butter (as he advises). You really don't taste much of the soy. It is a perfectly pleasant sauce - sweet and tangy, just not terribly exciting. Instead of the recommended fennel puree I served this with roasted fennel, pure heaven.

                                                                                           
                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                            Sauteed char (salmon) and fennel puree and soy-orange sauce p.237

                                                                                            This was a good dish with a nice balance of flavors between the rich salmon, sweet sauce and anise flavors of the fennel. I thought the soy-orange balance in the sauce was just right - any more soy and it would have dominated too much. I haven't ever made a sauce this way by reducing orange juice right down to a puree - it really intensified the orange flavor. The fennel puree had some issues - you must remove any fibrous parts of the fennel bulb. I had some core which would not puree and created a hairball in the processor, which is not guaranteed to give you an appetite.

                                                                                          2. Chicken-fried Trout, p. 272 with Spicy Remoulade, p. 416 (pictured with Hush Puppies and "Fingerling" Potato Salad from Bon Appetit Y'all)
                                                                                            Followed the Chicken-fried Trout recipe exactly and it was fantastic! I loved the flavor of the marinade and the crispy-coating. The only bad thing about this recipe is that it made my husband want to leave for a fishing trip with a shore lunch! ;-) My "Spicy" Remoulade wasn't so spicy because I couldn't find harissa at my grocery store and didn't have time to go anywhere else, but was good nonetheless.

                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                              Forgot the pic!

                                                                                               
                                                                                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                Chicken-Fried (Black Drum), p. 272

                                                                                                I had sworn off frying, but I now I've discovered this delicious recipe, which has gotten me really psyched about this book.

                                                                                                Wow, did we love this fish prep. I've done buttermilk soaks before, but this well-seasoned marinade (1 c buttermilk, 1/4 c ea minced red onion & chopped scallions, 1 tsp ea lemon zest & minced garlic, chopped scallions, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp sriracha [instead of sambal oelek]; I skipped the fresh dill) really makes a difference.

                                                                                                I used black drum (a Gulf fish that's plentiful here) and marinated it for only an hour, then dredge the fillets in seasoned flour and fried the fish in about 1/4 inch of peanut oil in a cast iron skillet. The crust on the fish was absolutely perfect, and the added flavor from the marinade really got our attention.

                                                                                                I didn't make the remoulade or green tartar sauce b/c I already had tartar sauce in the fridge, but my husband remarked that the fish was so good, it didn't need sauce. I served this w/a baked stuffed poblano and a tomato-onion-avocado salad.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                  I have buttermilk in my fridge right now, which I used to make homemade cake donuts (a hit). I will have to try this tomorrow night.

                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                    I'll love doing this one!

                                                                                                  2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                    We have tried this recipe and it is very good, we made ours with the green tartar sauce, and the dill flavor with the fried trout was great

                                                                                                    I liked the Arctic Char with Hoisen better, but this was a very close second

                                                                                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                      Chicken-fried Trout p.272

                                                                                                      I very rarely cook fried fish but I loved this. The flavors in the marinade were terrific - buttermilk, red onions, dill, garlic lemon - and they came through in the fish. But the best bit was the way the flour joined with the marinade to make a crispy flavorful coating. I served this with Green Tartar Sauce on p.417 and Carrot Slaw on p. 454 as well as a raw beetroot, dill and mustard seed salad (from Nigella's Forever Summer). Great meal.

                                                                                                      1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                                        That does sound like a great meal! I never fry fish, but all the rave reviews of this are making me want to try it. And that Nigella salad sounds right up my alley. Going to look it up immediately. Why do I keep forgetting I have that book and should be paying more attention to it this time of year?

                                                                                                        1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                                          I agree w Joan Jane, your meal sounds wonderful and serves as a good reminder about Nigella's book.

                                                                                                          1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                                            Wow. Chicken Fried Trout. Page 272
                                                                                                            This was AMAZING. This (for me) was the best recipe in the book. And I'll admit I was more than a bit skeptical when the butcher insisted on selling me trout with the skin on! ( I've never bought trout before). And am a bit on the squeamish side. He was kind enough to cut the head off, though I was left with the tail. I cut it off with my kitchen shears and did not look back.
                                                                                                            But now I see my fishmongers' wisdom - as removing the skin before cooking would be extremely detrimental, as this is a 'thin' fish.
                                                                                                            It is simply removed afterwards ( while eating).
                                                                                                            This was flavorful, perfectly cooked, and just delicious. I made the Remoulade because there was leftover harissa in he fridge... And the fish had some bones.. despite promises to the contrary. However, I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to my fishmonger. This will be my go-to recipe for fried fish from now on. Don't know how well leftover fish fares.. But we'll see.
                                                                                                            My, this was good and lived up to all previous reviews. One note: if you make the green tartar
                                                                                                            sauce, it needs a day to 'blossom'. The Remoulade only requires an hour - and even without any extra salt, verged on 'too salty' - be cautious in your seasoning.

                                                                                                            1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                              I share your enthusiasm for this dish: it really elevates fried fish to another level. I've done it twice in two weeks (even when I have no business frying anything as it's hot as Hades in my kitchen). But let me assure you, it tastes great as leftovers. I got my toaster oven really hot and re-warmed and re-crisped the fish.

                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                Thanks Nomadchowwoman, I will try to re-crisp mine for lunch today. And since there is all that buttermilk still in the fridge - I'll have to make this again soon :-)

                                                                                                          2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                            Chicken-Fried Trout p. 272 ... I had Utah Red Trout.
                                                                                                            This buttermilk marinade is especially good. I wasn't clear on how "wet" the fillets should be when I dredged them in flour, ended up with a pretty thick coating, not quite a batter. So just lemon juice + salt did the trick for a sauce.
                                                                                                            I saved a plain (no marinade at all) piece of trout to try with two "toppings" in the book -- Skordalia, and Tarragon Butter (both will be posted in their proper places.)
                                                                                                            I think this tasty fried homegrown fishy will be my last for the month -- sure wish I had more access to more variety of fish. And I should say that I didn't, not even once, use the white pepper he calls for so often. Meant to mention that with each of my posts!

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          3. Butter-Basted Scallops (page 253)
                                                                                                            with Green Beans and Chorizo (page 449)
                                                                                                            and Truffle Vinaigrette (page 434)

                                                                                                            Another multi-element recipe, but each part is simple and goes quickly.

                                                                                                            Green Beans and Chorizo
                                                                                                            I used andouille because I had one in the freezer. You trim and quarter the beans then blanch and shock them. The sausage is cut into a size similar to the beans, sautéed until it just begins to turn brown, add the beans and cook until hot. He says to check for salt. I didn’t think it needed any.

                                                                                                            Truffle Vinaigrette
                                                                                                            Sliced shallots are cooked in chicken stock (I used Better than Bouillon) until soft, whizzed in a blender with sherry vinegar and soy sauce, then add vegetable oil (I used grapeseed) and truffle oil. My emulsion broke. Was it a mistake to use grapeseed oil? I wanted something neutral that would allow the truffle oil to shine. I thought I added it slowly enough, but it wasn’t exactly drop by drop. Anyway, it may not have been picture perfect, but it sure tasted good.

                                                                                                            Butter-Basted Scallops
                                                                                                            I had gorgeous, fresh scallops from the farmers market. And just before the weekend I got an excellent report on my cholesterol, so I decided now was the time. You melt butter in a hot skillet; add patted dry, salt & peppered scallops to the pan; add more butter to the pan along with a sprig of thyme; and baste constantly for about 2 minutes, turning them for another 30 seconds if they aren’t cooked through.

                                                                                                            To serve, he says to pile the beans in the center of the plate, spoon dollops of vinaigrette around the beans, and place a scallop on top of each dollop. Well, I had no dollops, but I didn’t care. This dish was spectacular. Another run don’t walk. Every bit the wowser that the Thai Mussels were. I could see making it for Valentine’s Day or a special anniversary--one of those occasions when you want something knock-‘em-dead with minimal effort. And I think it’s adaptable, too. I can’t believe the beans wouldn’t be almost as good with sliced, toasted almonds. And the Vinaigrette is his accompaniment for Brandade Cakes, which I now have to add to my list of recipes to try.

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                              A scallop with a dollop is a scallop that is true. Or is that a mortar with a pestle..or a flagon with a dragon.???..Anyone remember Danny Kaye?

                                                                                                              Anyway - that just makes me want to go out to find scallops and
                                                                                                              dollop up a storm!!

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                And where is the brew that is true?! LOL

                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  I remember the chalice in the palace ... Danny Kaye was adorable!

                                                                                                                2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                  Butter-Basted Scallops,Pg. 253

                                                                                                                  These scallops were probably the very best I have ever tasted. Of course all that butter contributed to that assessment but I have to think the quality of the scallops had something to do with it as well. I only made the one component of the three phase recipe because there were a few other vegetables I wanted to cook before they gave up their ghost. JoanN has described the procedure perfectly so I'll just say if you ever chance upon Scallops from the Elephant Trunk fishing area southeast of Delaware Bay buy them ASAP...

                                                                                                                3. Butter-basted halibut with creamy corn and red pepper coulis (p. 251)
                                                                                                                  Or . . . cod puts on a party dress and goes downtown!

                                                                                                                  You essentially pan roast the fish fillet in brown butter, basting all the time, cooking it through. It works! Fish is moist from fin to tail --er outside and in -- with no oily taste from you often get from pan frying in oil.

                                                                                                                  Before you cook the fish, you whiz up some cilantro, olive oil and salt in a blender (I used a mini-processor ‘cause the blender was called for later for the coulis), and stick in a plastic bag with the fish to marinate for an hour, or while you prepare the rest of the meal.

                                                                                                                  Bell pepper coulis (p. 427) – calls for red or yellow. This was excellent and easy.
                                                                                                                  You chop up some garlic and shallots, saute with chopped bell pepper – I used yellow. Add wine and cook down, then put in blender with champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar) and vegetable oil (I used canola). Sweet and flavorful, and tastes like essence of sweet pepper only sweeter, with no oily taste. Goes perfectly with the fish.

                                                                                                                  The recipe suggests creamed corn but I had no cream, so skipped it and made roasted red potatoes, and called it a meal. One I would be happy to see again.

                                                                                                                  You can substitute a lot of different fish(es?), including scallops. But very happy to have a vehicle for turning dull cod into a gourmet meal!

                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                    Cod puts on a party dress and goes town.... that is SO CUTE :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                      Butter Basted Halibut (mahi mahi) with Cream Corn and Red Pepper Coulis Pg. 251
                                                                                                                      My first attempt at butter basting and it yielded a lovely piece of fish. I have seen chef's perform this technique on TV and I'm happy I gave it a try. The process yields a nicely cooked piece of fish with the distinct flavour of beurre noisette without having to consume all that butter. The fish was luscious, and very prettily nestled atop the rich cream corn. The drizzle of red pepper coulis with its acidic notes cuts through the richness of the corn and the fish, to yield a very well balanced dish. Delicious!

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                        What a beautiful plate!

                                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                          Thanks nomadchowwoman, I'm glad I managed to post this one without the the pic posting problems I had with the broiled fish filets on the broiling thread ha ha

                                                                                                                      2. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                        Butter-Basted Haddock/Cod with Creamy Corn and Red Pepper Coulis, p. 251.

                                                                                                                        Well, my haddock filets put on their party dresses and went to town, and everybody loved the combo of flavors of the cilantro-oil marinade, plus the creamy corn and the red pepper coulis.

                                                                                                                        NYchowcook has described the whole process extremely well. As she did, I used a mini-FP for the cilantro-oil marinade, and then my blender to whiz up the red pepper coulis. Very easy. I used champagne vinegar for the coulis, and liked the hint of sweetness it added. I only used half the butter to saute the fish--4 TB rather than 8--and thought it was more than enough. Which reduction in fat was probably a good thing, since I used the full cup of cream with fresh corn in the creamed corn recipe!

                                                                                                                        Anyway, the haddock filets were delicious with their cilantro coating and browned butter flavoring. As the recipe suggested, I blotted them with paper towels before serving.

                                                                                                                        All in all, a recipe that my guests, particularly Mr. Goblin, really liked. And I did, too! It's a pretty dish to serve, too. Definitely suitable for a dinner party--and for a family meal if they are worthy. ;-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                                          BUTTER-BASTED HALIBUT, p. 251

                                                                                                                          Delys77's colorful dish really attracted me to this recipe so I decided to give it a go on the last night of July (though I will continue to use this book, one of my favorite COTM selections so far). But, alas, I was running late so didn't make the coulis and didn't get the dramatic color combo it would have provided.

                                                                                                                          No doubt this would have been even better with fresh halibut, but I went with the much more reasonably priced frozen steaks (6 oz). After removing the fish from its marinade (cilantro whizzed w/ grapeseed oil and a little salt) and scraping, I put it into the sizzling butter. I was afraid I had gotten my skillet too hot and burned the butter and so overcompensated by lowering the heat; hence, it took me longer than it should have to cook the fish. One of the steaks started to fall apart as I was blotting w/towels before serving. But in the end, it was delicious, and I'll definitely try this butter-basting again. When the right scallops show up, I want to give them this treatment. We ate this with creamy corn and a couple of side salads made from stuff in the fridge.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                        2. Pecan-Crusted Turbot (page 247)

                                                                                                                          I made this with flounder. (Yes, I know. But it was line caught by the fisherman I bought it from so I tell myself it’s okay.) And I made the optional Soy-Orange Sauce (page 424). Unlike LulusMom above, I really liked the sauce and didn’t think the dish would have been as interesting without it. I, too, used blood oranges, but I used Tarocco’s, which are sweeter (and less red) than other types. I also used less rather than more butter. I wonder if the type of orange could make that much of a difference?

                                                                                                                          For the Soy-Orange Sauce (I made half a recipe), I reduced 1 cup of blood orange juice to a few tablespoons, added half a teaspoon of soy sauce, and whisked in a tablespoon of butter (half the amount, proportionately, called for).

                                                                                                                          The fillets are seasoned, dredged in flour, dipped in foamy egg white, and coated with pecans that have been processed to crumbs. They’re sauteed in a pan filmed with oil over moderate heat so the pecans don’t burn—2-1/2 minutes on the first side, 1-1/2 minutes on the second. Supremed orange segments (I used navels for the supremes) are scattered on the fish and the Soy-Orange Sauce is drizzled over all.

                                                                                                                          The fish was very good, but nothing unusual. I thought the sauce was terrific and made the dish. And the orange pairs surprisingly well with the nuttiness of the fish. That said, there are just too many other recipes in this book that I just adore and I doubt I’ll be revisiting this one.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                            Pecan-Crusted [Sole] p. 247

                                                                                                                            I'm always curious about "vintage" dishes that I've heard about but never tasted. Like Floating Island, Oysters Rockerfeller, Creamed Spinach, famous but never made it to my table!
                                                                                                                            Both Trout Amandine and pecan-crusted fish are in that group, so here is the latter.
                                                                                                                            (I had ONE orange, so did not attempt the Soy-Orange sauce, but that kind of sauce appeals.)
                                                                                                                            For this you've ground up pecans, so it's important to have the coating stick. I learned recently from smtucker and JoanN -- drain and pat all excess water from frozen fillets. It worked very well, the flour / egg white / ground nuts stayed on the fish!
                                                                                                                            The end result I'd say is very very tasty, but just a little too rich a crust for delicate sole? Gilding the lily, maybe? After you've had sole every other way, then coat it with ground pecans?
                                                                                                                            But certainly not a wasted kitchen session!

                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                              One day you'll have to try floating island. That is one of my favorites.

                                                                                                                          2. Tuna au Poivre with Fennel Salad, p. 231

                                                                                                                            I made this last night, as I had two beautiful tuna steaks, and really didn't cook much from this book when it was COTM. Unfortunately, I was less than thrilled with it. You rub the steaks with oil, then press into a mixture of cracked white pepper and coriander seeds, then sear for 30 seconds on each side. I used my cast iron skillet., and found that 30 seconds on each side was not enough - when I flipped them, some of the sides that had been seared had lots of raw bits. So, maybe I ended up searing for 1 minute on each side, which left lots of raw tuna inside. I didn't feel as if I got much of crust, but I did get lots of burned pepper/coriander bits that fell off, creating a lot of smoke.

                                                                                                                            I plated this on an arugula salad with tomatoes and a shallot vinaigrette, rather than the fennel orange salad b/c (a) it was cold here and that salad seems more spring/summer-like, (b) my husband doesn't really like fennel and (c) I had a lot of baby arugula to use up. I think this substitution was fine. I then sliced the tuna, place it on top, and drizzled with the basil oil (p. 436). Well, the "crust" completely overwhelmed the dish, and you could barely discern the basil oil (which is sort of creamy). We ended up brushing off as much of the "crust" as we could.

                                                                                                                            I do think the flavour combinations are a bit odd - white pepper, coriander, basil, fennel and oranges. The tuna itself was good - but I felt as if I'd sort of wasted it on this dish.

                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                              From a cooking standpoint, I've never understood this kind of crust on fish - seems to doomed to burn. I've only eaten it at restaurants - how do they do it?

                                                                                                                              I was looking at za'taar as a crust the other day, and couldn't bring myself to do it because I thought it would result in scorched dry herbs/seeds....

                                                                                                                              1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                Yes, I'm coming to that conclusion as well. However, the seeds/pepper on the tuna itself were not scorched, fwiw.

                                                                                                                                1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                  I've done a Jamie Oliver recipe for coriander encrusted salmon (I think) which is great, and I didn't have a problem with scorching iirc.

                                                                                                                                  http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sp...

                                                                                                                                2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                  It sounds like just a bad idea from a technique point of view to have a crust that burns.

                                                                                                                                  For something like that, I would probably pop into the oven for the fish to cook after the initial two-side sear. It seems you'd need some liquid to add so the crust doesn't burn in the oven either.
                                                                                                                                  I am so into Thai these days that I even ad libbed (?) fish fillets w/ red curry paste enhanced with fresh lemongrass, ginger & garlic, adding coconut milk. The fish fell apart but all was delish.

                                                                                                                                  But it's a shame to have mediocre tuna steaks, and probably is just not a good recipe.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                    What a shame. My husband makes tuna au poivre for me sometimes, just sort of cobbling together an idea from how he makes steak au poivre, and it is usually wonderful. But maybe it is more the sauce that makes it, and not any kind of crustiness. I'll see if he can remember what it is he does ...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                      My husband (aka LulusDad) is a professor, so now that summer is here he has a bit more time to help out, and has offered to cook a meal each week. Yay! His first meal of the summer was last night, and he decided to try this Tuna au Poivre. He skipped the fennel salad and made a cucumber salad instead (went with it perfectly- cooled down the burn of the white pepper and coriander). We like our tuna very rare, and maybe that is why he didn't have a problem with the cooking. It was rare, as we like, but the outside was nicely crispy with the rub. I will say that we also like very spicy food, so maybe for those who don't lean that way the crust could well be overwhelming.

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                        Tuna (Swordfish) au Poivre with Fennel Salad, p. 231

                                                                                                                                        this is really a three part recipe, the pan-grilled fish, the fennel salad on which the swordfish slices are spread and basil oil. drizzled over

                                                                                                                                        The original post on this recipe subbed out the salad and had some problems with the fish - we though, thought the recipe was excellent and well worth repeating when we cooked it with swordfish and pretty much followed the other specifications

                                                                                                                                        when I went to the farmers market today, the vendor had only one piece of fish left, a pristine slice of swordfish steak, so I chose this recipe. Luckily I had the other ingredients in the house, except I had to eke out the basil oil garnish from some sprigs from the garden.

                                                                                                                                        Id like to highlight that the fennel , onion and orange salad is not particularly fennel-y, it was easy to make with the benriner slicer, delicious in its own right and was a great contrast to the fatty swordfish and its spices

                                                                                                                                        The fish is simply prepared, rubbed with olive oil and the crushed pepper and coriander seed were pressed in. I had no problem with the spices burning and cooked it about 1.5 minutes per side. while heated through, It was still quite pink and firm, however - I think it could have done with a bit more cooking. Since the book didnt have very good swordfish cooking time guidance there was too much guesswork here..

                                                                                                                                        the basil oil preparation, involving blanching and processing with very cold olive oil was a bit fussy given the small number of sprigs I had - I settled for crushing the leaves and oil in the mortar and spooning drops of it over the finished dish.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                          Tuna au Poivre [without Fennel Salad] (page 231)

                                                                                                                                          I made this tonight and didn't have the problems with it that MMRuth did. I seared the tuna for 30 seconds on each side, had no raw spots or burned bits, and yes, it was raw inside, but that's the way I like it. I thought this was spot-on. Didn't do the Fennel Salad or the accompanying Basil Oil. I was making the Quinoa with Mango and Curried Yogurt from "Gourmet Today," which was overwhelmed by the pepper on the tuna. Although the quinoa was terrific, I should have known better. Next time I'll make the salad.

                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                        2. Sauted Blackfish (Cod) with mushrooms and celery root and potato puree (simple mashers) p. 240.

                                                                                                                                          I've been wanting to make this for the past couple of months, but no matter where I've looked I cannot find blackfish, so I finally decided I was just going to go ahead and do it with cod instead. I think in the end I overcooked the cod a bit, but this was party because my husband has a strong aversion to undercooked cod, so I err on the side of cooking it a bit more than needed. Not a big problem, this was still delicious. Very, very rich though. I made mashed potatoes instead of the celery root/potato puree (he says this is an ok sub) and did top it all with truffle oil as he suggests (decadent and definitely added to the richness) - you'll see pools of oil on the plate. In the end, while I liked this very much, I doubt I'd make it again because it was just a bit *too* rich. Served with roasted asparagus. Photo a bit fuzzy ...

                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                          1. Fish Fingers at Home [page 268]

                                                                                                                                            Kid was having a craving for fish "like when I was in England" and we had a 4.8 lb cod sitting on the counter. Filleted the fish, and cut one fillet into reasonable-sized pieces and set on a paper towel to dry a bit.

                                                                                                                                            Meanwhile, I assembled the other ingredients. Whisked the egg and then discovered there was no seltzer in the house. I had a choice of Pellegrino and tonic water. The Pellegrino won. I created the flour based on his NOTE. At the last minute, I whisked the egg with the water, when it fizzed I added the flour.

                                                                                                                                            He includes a trick for using a bamboo stick to hold the fish. Oh, not good. The bamboo stick, covered with batter, spread the leftover batter around the kitchen when the fish was released from the end. I used my fingers.

                                                                                                                                            This was really good. Yea, fried foods, not good for you, but if you are going to eat them, they should be good. The batter was light and soft, and needed to fry a little longer than expected to get crisp. Served with french fries and freshly shucked peas, lemon wedges and a little tartar sauce. The leftovers reheat well in a convection oven straight on the rack.

                                                                                                                                            1. Baked Branzino (pg. 211)

                                                                                                                                              I subbed local bluefish for the branzino and I LOVED this dish. It's really easy and delicious and the oven is on for a short period of time.

                                                                                                                                              Essentially, you put the topping for the clams oreganata on to the bluefish and you bake it at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. I can't find the previous post on the topping, but it's fabulous. It's a mixture of bread crumbs (I used panko), garlic, parsley, dried oregano, fresh thyme, parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice. The flavors worked beautifully with the bluefish and everything just sang in my mouth.

                                                                                                                                              I ate this with a sauteed chard and spring onions and it was a lovely solo meal. C was a bit peeved when he heard what I made for myself, especially since there were no leftovers. I guess I'll just have to repeat the dish...

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                Pg 211
                                                                                                                                                Much like beetlebug in 2009, I really enjoyed this super simple dish. I used the suggested Mahi Mahi substitute and it worked out really well (with about 12 minutes in the oven). The topping is so full of flavour you would think it might overpower the fish, but it compliments it perfectly. I love when something that is so little work turns out so great! The picture is a little underwhelming because I was rushing, but trust me this is a very nice dish.

                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                  Baked Bronzino (Bluefish) with Oreganata topping, p 211.
                                                                                                                                                  Whenever I return to this book, I am so impressed all over again. Made this tonight with some lovely bluefish from my CSA. I concur with bettlebug and delys77: the oreganato topping is perfect with the baked bluefish. I made twice as much topping so I could really pile it on. A great family meal that would be a good company dinner as well.

                                                                                                                                                2. Sole Piccata p. 246

                                                                                                                                                  My husband's been doing a once a week dinner for us, which has been wonderful. He's also fallen hard for this book, more than any other cookbook we own. Last night he made the sole piccata - his first foray into pan frying fish. He was nervous, but it was absolutely wonderful. Just dredge the fish in the flour/salt/pepper, then fry quickly in oil and butter. Set aside, saute shallot, lemon, white wine and finally capers, pour over the fish. Really good.

                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                  22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                    Sole Piccata p. 246

                                                                                                                                                    I made this last night and we loved it. Talk about a quick, easy and delicious meal. I impulse bought some sole from WF when it was on sale. Plus, everything other than the fish was in the pantry so it was a win win.

                                                                                                                                                    I had a slight hitch in that my sole fillets were tiny. So, I shortened the cooking time but then had a problem taking them out of the pan since they broke. The result was ugly but it didn't effect the taste. This dish will definitely go on the rotation.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                      the delicacy of sole has always made that a problem for me too - getting it out of the pan without it falling apart. But it never fails - sole tastes wonderful, and this is a great recipe. So glad you liked it too.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                        One of my all-time favorite kitchen utensils, one I give as a gift over and over again, is this William Bounds fish spatula. Because of it's very thin rounded edge, stiff center, and small lip on the other side, there's almost nothing it it can't pick up without having it break. I use it all the time for fish, but for so much more as well. Great gadget.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                          I have one like this, which I love. I use it for fish, sauteed potatoes, roasted vegetables. It has a sharp lip which cleanly gets under the food. Great tool.

                                                                                                                                                          http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                            I really need one of these. Retail therapy time! Thanks for the info.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                              I'll bet you've bought one by now, but for others, too:

                                                                                                                                                              Dorie Greenspan in an article recommended a couple of fish spatulas a few years ago - 2007, I see. I took her advice and bought a Lamson and I liked it so much I bought the larger size, as well, for use in larger skillets with larger ingredients. They're used constantly, and look good as new - well almost, I suppose, I haven't seen a new one side-by-side :-))

                                                                                                                                                              http://doriegreenspan.com/print/2007/...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                I sure have, and I use it all the time. Many thanks to JoanN for pointing this item out.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                          Sole Piccata p. 246
                                                                                                                                                          This can't be any tastier, I just wish I had more experience with dredging and frying. The crispy browned part was partly on the sole and partly in the pan at frying's end.
                                                                                                                                                          You cook lemon slices right in with the butter and shallots, then some capers and wine are cooked, this great-smelling mix goes on the fillets. We'll have this again, I know.

                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                            I know what you mean about partly in the pan, partly on the fish - sole is so delicate. It looks delicious though:-)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                              I have in the past had no luck with dredging and frying. Day before yesterday I tried fresh fish, three fillets. Since I don't use and 'dredging' material/ingredients any longer, I thought that I'd just high heat a level of oil in a frypan. Of course, it stuck, so I guess the level of oil, plus the heat ws really not hot enough, I didn't continue with the other fillets. I froze them and today I'll have a soup - not from the book, but my own recipe.

                                                                                                                                                              But I think your receipe looks 'wonderful.' Perfect in fact.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                I pan saute fish quite a bit and don't have a sticking problem. Generally I spray the pan - even if it's supposed to be non-stick - with pan release, add the oil and get it good and hot then add the fish and reduce the heat to medium. I don't touch the fish for almost 2 mintues, sometimes longer if it's a thicker piece of fish. Then I turn it. It rarely sticks.

                                                                                                                                                                I've done it this way for so long, maybe I'm just used to it. I don't get home from work until nearly 6:30 pm and this has reliably been the cooking method I used to get a dinner on the table in the shortest amount of time.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                It looks wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                  Y'all have to use Rick Mooonen's technique for pan sauteing fish. He spells it very carefully with every saute recipe in the book.

                                                                                                                                                                  First lightly flour the skin side of the fish. (if there;s no skin you can generally tell which side Had the skin). Then...

                                                                                                                                                                  Heat a skillet over high heat, add olive oil, add the fish with floured side down, reduce heat to medium, press down on fish with a spatula to hear the sizzle which tells you that a crust is being formed. Then add a T of butter to the pan. When the butter melts, baste the fish and cook for 3 minutes. When the fish is almost cooked through turn over and turn off the heat. The fish sits for about 30 seconds then is transferred to paper towels.

                                                                                                                                                                  This is absolutely fail-proof for us...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                    The press-and-sizzle is a good method, maybe in this piccata he didn't use it because sole is so delicate?
                                                                                                                                                                    For me, the brown crust formed, but didn't stay on the fish. I notice that thawed fish gives up more water than fresh--maybe that causes the crust to fall off.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                      Blue,

                                                                                                                                                                      Absolutely! You might try lighting salting the fish after it has thawed and letting it hang out on a paper towel, top and bottom, for about 20 minutes. I find that this pulls that extra water out of the fish allowing you to dry it more completely. Then the crust can adhere to the fish more successfully.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm even more aggressive than that. I give the thawed fish a good squeeze with paper towels before seasoning. I'm often shocked at how much water comes out of the fish. Some fish, obviously, can stand up to rougher treatment than others, but even with a flounder fillet I give it a good hard press between layers of paper towels.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                        Ah, I see. It's the frozen vs. fresh fish thing. I don't usually buy frozen fish except once in a while when the gulf shrimp are on offer. And then I use it as soon as... For frozen fish I'd follow either SMT's or JoanN's advice.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                    Sole Piccata, p. 246.

                                                                                                                                                                    My turn for this delicious and uncomplicated dish, which is well-described by previous posters. When you want a quick, fresh, subtly-piquant treatment for sole , this is a good option. It works for family and for guests, IMHO, pleasing all ages and stations. Last night's version was for a family dinner, but I could also see it at a dinner party, when you have really nice filets of sole you want to feature.

                                                                                                                                                                    I followed the instructions for sautéing and did not have trouble with sticking BUT I had found Rella's post on this thread presenting Dorrie Greenspan's advice on fish spatulas, and I used my newly purchased large Lamson spatula. Worked perfectly! I'm so glad I have it!

                                                                                                                                                                    Served with a fresh tomato tart, a gratin of summer squash, a simple salad and good bread.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                      What a terrific meal!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you, ncw--Summer!! Ya gotta love it!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                      [Sole] Piccata, Pg. 246

                                                                                                                                                                      Because I inherited the do-something-different gene I used steelhead trout, a recommended alternative, instead of sole and the result was delicious. The other sub I made was chopped Kalamata olives instead of capers... totally forgot we had run out of them. Followed the recipe directions, dredging was not a problem, coating browned to a lovely golden, had no trouble with sticking, sauce was perfect. I loved cooked lemons, in this case pan roasted. Served with the Cilantro Aioli on page 419 and a mixed vegetable (zucchini/carrot/green bell pepper/onion/garlic) gratin. Lerverly meal...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                        [Trout] Piccata, p. 246

                                                                                                                                                                        I'll just echo what everyone else has said: quick, easy, delicious--a perfect week night meal (although it worked just fine on a Saturday night). This is very similar to Meuniere preps--and just as good.

                                                                                                                                                                        We had thisi w/a caesar-ish salad last night and some sauteed asparagus, after a starter of buschetta w/fresh tomato topping. Very satisfying.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Coquilles St-Jacques (p. 218)

                                                                                                                                                                        Husband's turn to cook again, and lo and behold, he went for Fish without a Doubt yet again. He played with this recipe to make it easier (he's had a rough week, and has been traveling a lot). Instead of broiling these, he just did them in a pan on top of the stove. He seared the scallops (and he wants me to tell you that he was disappointed in how little they browned, and how he hadn't dried them enough) in the pan, then removed them and added the butter, some olive oil (not in the recipe), white wine, mushrooms (skipped the water and lemon juice) to the pan and let that cook down. Put the scallops back in to have them soak up some flavor. Served this over his (killer) mashed potatoes, with a frisee salad on the side. This was yet another great meal. Not as made as written, but based on the one in this book, and really a special treat for me, as this has always been one of those things I love to order in restaurants. Lulu was also a fan. Can I just mention that I lucked out husband-wise?

                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                        1. Butter-Basted Salmon with Tea (page 254)
                                                                                                                                                                          served with Mom’s Cucumber Salad (page 499)
                                                                                                                                                                          and Horseradish Cream (page 420)

                                                                                                                                                                          Salt 2 skin-on salmon fillets, rub with ground lapsang souchong tea, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for two hours. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a 12-inch skillet, place the fillets, skin-side down on the far side of the pan, and press with a spatula to crisp the skin. Add four more tablespoons of butter to the near side of the pan and continuously spoon the melted, browning butter over the fillets for about five minutes. Lift the fillets to paper toweling and blot the top of the fillets with another towel.

                                                                                                                                                                          Wow! Gorgeously crisp skin. My brother, who never eats fish skin, couldn’t get over how good it could be. And, yes, it seems like an unholy amount of butter. But using the full amount really does help crisp up the skin (and keep it from sticking to the pan) and makes it easy to spoon the butter over the fillets. Most of the butter is left in the pan and/or blotted off the fish and you’re left with perfectly succulent, totally nongreasy, slightly smoky-flavored fish.

                                                                                                                                                                          I served it with Mom’s Cucumber Salad. Didn’t bother to seed the cucumbers and marinated the salad for only about an hour. It was still good.

                                                                                                                                                                          The Horseradish Cream is supposed to be made with crème fraiche. I tried to make some, as I have a number of times before, but this batch curdled so I used sour cream instead. Fresh tasting, with a nice amount of zing (I used a new bottle of horseradish), it went really well with both the salmon and the salad.

                                                                                                                                                                          A quick, easy, dinner since so much of it can (nay, should) be prepared ahead of time and one I would certainly make again.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                            Joan, my reaction was exactly "it seems like an unholy amount of butter" for two fillets as I read your explanation of the process, but the results sound utterly fabulous. Sitting here at 4 p.m. reading this, all I can think is, I want that. Right. now.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Crispy Calamari

                                                                                                                                                                            No fish share this week, so back to my fish monger to buy some calamari. I have wanted to try the FISH method. Calamari has gone up two dollars per pound in the last year, so I only bought one pound. I then prepared it three ways, so we could do back-to-back comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                            Prepped the calamari per instructions, which is the same as usual. Finish cleaning the squid and cut on into rings. Another quick wash. Two thirds went onto a dish towel to dry, while the FISH third went into enough milk to cover and back into the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                            All three versions were cooked in peanut oil at 365º. As soon as they came out of the fryer, we salted and squeezed lemon juice all over.

                                                                                                                                                                            Round one. Dredge with all purpose flour. This has been our go to prep. We both agreed that when the calamari are done perfectly, the flour tastes too raw. Not much crisp.

                                                                                                                                                                            Round two. Dredge in a mixture of all purpose flour and semolina [1:1]. Fry for same time. Ah, no raw flour taste, nice crunch and a nice brown color. Very nice indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                            Round three. FISH prep. Pull out the calamari and drain the milk. Dredge the calamari into a mixture of Wondra flour, salt and pepper. Calamari cooked perfectly with a great texture but the coating was really 'white.' Yes, I know white isn't a flavor, but trust me, this tasted white beyond belief.

                                                                                                                                                                            Next calamari-fest I will try two ways. Round No 2, and soaking the calamari in milk before dredging in the flour/semolina mix.

                                                                                                                                                                            So, bottom line, I think the method might have some possibilities, but I will be investigating a better dredging material.

                                                                                                                                                                            Served with a cabbage/asian pear slaw with a rice vinegar/olive oil dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                              Oh man! A fried calamari tasting and you didn't invite me?!? Can't think of anything that would be more fun that doesn't involve sex.

                                                                                                                                                                              Got a feeling the result of this is going to require a thread of it's own.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                Lol.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Fennel Crusted Tuna (without the wilted cabbage, etc., page 230)

                                                                                                                                                                              Made just the tuna: tuna coated with ground fennel and coriander seeds and white peppercorns seared in hot oil in a cast iron skillet. Super easy. Really, really good. Surprised reading the posts above about problems with searing tuna with a crust. Had no problem at all getting a bit of a crust and still having fairly rare tuna. Must remember this when I’m too lazy to do anything more complicated.

                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                              1. Sautéed Mahi Mahi [Salmon] with Beets and Skordalia (page 234)

                                                                                                                                                                                In order of prep:

                                                                                                                                                                                Basic Beets (page 450)
                                                                                                                                                                                Cook beets in red wine vinegar, sugar, and salt for about 40 minutes to an hour. Cool in liquid and peel. I cut them into chunks. You can cover them with their cooking liquid to serve later. I did that with the leftovers. I love beets. This was a terrific preparation of them, one I would definitely do again. Sort of a hot, pickled beets. Delightful.

                                                                                                                                                                                Skordalia (page 397)
                                                                                                                                                                                Cook a russet potato. While it’s cooking, buzz, sequentially, garlic and white vinegar in a food processor. When the potato has cooled, peel it, add it to the food processor, buzz it a bit, then add vegetable oil (I used grapeseed) and club soda. Season as needed with s&p. At this stage it can sit in the processor for a couple of hours or be refrigerated and brought to room temp before serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                Recipe calls for 6 to 8 cloves of garlic. I used 8 just because I do. May be the first time in my life I would recommend cutting back. I don’t care if they can smell it on me on the subway the next day, but 8 was just overpowering and the skordalia would have been more with less. Just a little less.

                                                                                                                                                                                Sautéed Mahi Mahi [Salmon} (page234)

                                                                                                                                                                                More wild Copper River sockeye from Costco. S&p on both sides, dust with flour on the skin side, and put in an oil-slicked, preheated sauté pan. Add fish skin side down, press with a spatula to get the skin crusty, add butter and baste. Turn and cook the other side. Drain on paper towels. Place salmon on a bed of skordalia, add beets, and serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                As many recipes as I’ve made from this book, I’m still tickled by how the flavors of the various elements support and highlight each other. He says this combination works with a great variety of fish, but I thought the acidity of the beets and the powerful punch of the skordalia. perfectly balanced the richness of the salmon.. Extra points that the beets and skordalia can be prepared ahead of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds delicious. This is going on my to-do list. I'm surprised to hear that Costco is a reliable source of fresh fish - will have to look into this today!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                    Costco doesn't have a large variety of fresh fish, but when it's in season seemingly most stores have the wild Copper River sockeye at less than half what you'd pay for it elsewhere. I pay $9.99/lb on the east coast (compared to $22+ at my local fishmonger), but I've seen west coast reports of it being only $8.99/lb. Doesn't last long, so I stock up while I can.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                      I eat salmon with great regularity when Costco has the fresh-caught wild Alaska salmon. We also get wild haddock and tuna. I love my local fish market, but they can't compete with these prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh this one has me excited!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                      This sounds wonderful Joan. I love skordalia and my favourite version so far has been an almond version. I've made a note in my book to watch the garlic. mr bc & I are crazy about garlic so I usually find myself increasing the quantities suggested in recipes. It's good to have your insights, especially since you seem to love garlic as much as we do!! Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                        Sautéed Mahi Mahi (page234)

                                                                                                                                                                                        Had leftover beets, leftover skordalia, and a piece of the called-for mahi mahi (although skinless) in the freezer so replayed this. I had refrigerated the leftover beets in their cooking liquid and served them cold; just as good as they were when hot, perhaps even a bit more flavorful for having sat for two days in the mild pickling solution. I brought the skordalia to room temp and plated it with more of a slick than a pillow. this time. It had mellowed quite a bit and was actually better than when freshly made, but I'd still cut back a tad on the amount of garlic. Even though the mahi mahi was skinless, I dusted one side with flour and used the same technique as for the salmon. This was good, but I much preferred it with the salmon. Not only was the salmon a better piece of fish, but so much richer than the mahi mahi that it was a better foil for the strong flavors of the accompaniments.

                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                          Just now realized that mirage reviewed Sautéed Salmon with Beets and Skordaliain in the pre-COTM thread. Here's the link: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5848...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                            Packets of Barramundi with Shrimp and Mushrooms, p. 220

                                                                                                                                                                                            I made this last night for dinner. Barramundi was available at my fish market and this is what drew me to this dish. The recipe calls for making the fish en papillote. Rick suggest using tinfoil packets.

                                                                                                                                                                                            This is the third dish I have made out of FWAD and I am very impressed at how perfectly the recipes are coming together. The sauce for this recipe requires a few steps: poaching mushrooms in cream, sautéing shallots in butter, making a fumet (I bought mine at the seafood market), and then marring all three together and reducing, adding lemon and herbs just prior to cooling down in a water bath. The resulting sauce tasted very much like the base for clam chowder. I couldn't resist tasting it over and over again.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The barramundi and butterflied shrimp are placed into the packets with the sauce atop, then baked for 20 minutes @ 450 degrees. The packets then sit on the counter for another 10 minutes before serving. This is where I went amiss. I didn't oil the bottom of the packets, assuming the rich sauce would serve this purpose. It didn't and the fish stuck, ruining what would have been a beautiful presentation. I also used 25 count shrimp instead of 20 count and their smaller size caused them to be slightly over cooked. As I said before, the recipes seem to work perfectly, provided you follow them to the letter.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Although I loved the sauce I didn't love the dish overall. Next time I would crisp the barramundi in a skillet, add the shrimp 1/2 through, and then pour the sauce on top. I would also add some veggies to this dish, such as a bed of shaved broccoli spears.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                              Terrific review, dkennedy, but might I make a suggestion? Since you are the first to review this recipe, it will be easier to find in the future if you reply to the original post rather than to the last post written. I know that I, at least, when looking to see if a recipe has been reviewed yet, will skim the main (all the way on the left) posts assuming that indented posts are follow-ups to or discussions of an already reviewed recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the tip JoanN. I always respond to the bottom post, unless I am commenting in direct response to someone else's post. I didn't realize that etiquette dictates responding to the first post. This makes sense based on your explanation. Are the rules about how you are suppose to post set out somewhere? If they are, I'd love to be guided to them. Do you think I should copy my post and repost it above or just post that way going forward?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                  There really are no rules, and it's not even so much a question of etiquette. It's just a method of posting that's developed over the years of COTM that makes it easier for everyone to find posts of recipes that are being reviewed for the first time and keeping reviews of the same recipes together in one place so that those looking for results of a single recipe need not scroll through an entire thread to find them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you wanted, I'm sure you could ask the mods to move your review so it appears as a response to the original post rather than as part of the discussion of the Sautéed Mahi Mahi recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just reposted this (below) so it will be picked up by future readers as a new line of discussion. Thank you JoanN for pointing this out. I never picked up on the fact that the indents indicated an ongoing discussion and the flush left posts were new discussions. Now I know.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                            I had a small dinner party this evening and made this dish. I have to agree with JoanN, this is a delicious dish and all the flavors work really well together.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I was going to use Mahi-Mahi as we get it fresh out of the Gulf of California and it's got a really meaty texture to it. Unfortunately, I arrived at my fish monger a half hour before he opened and couldn't wait so I went to the wholesaler that all the restaurants use knowing they don't trade in Mahi and that I'd have to sub. I ended up with some truly fabulous Gulf of CA grouper. It worked with the Skordelia and beets beautifully.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought the beets were a bit on the salty side, my guests did not.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I used 7 cloves of garlic, 1 of which was jumbo sized, so while the skordelia was garlicky it wasn't overpowering. Loved the kick it had from the club soda. I made the mistake of overprocessing the potato and the consistency got funky on me, but jeez, this stuff is so good it didn't matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I chose this dish because I could make components ahead which meant more time with the guests. The dish was a hit, they loved it, I loved it, the presentation is great and the beets provide a nice color contrast. I would make this again in a heartbeat.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Having made this I can see why it might work with salmon.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Packets of Barramundi with Shrimp and Mushrooms, p. 220 (reposted)

                                                                                                                                                                                            I made this last night for dinner. Barramundi was available at my fish market and this is what drew me to this dish. The recipe calls for making the fish en papillote. Rick suggest using tinfoil packets.

                                                                                                                                                                                            This is the third dish I have made out of FWAD and I am very impressed at how perfectly the recipes are coming together. The sauce for this recipe requires a few steps: poaching mushrooms in cream, sautéing shallots in butter, making a fumet (I bought mine at the seafood market), and then marring all three together and reducing, adding lemon and herbs just prior to cooling down in a water bath. The resulting sauce tasted very much like the base for clam chowder. I couldn't resist tasting it over and over again.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The barramundi and butterflied shrimp are placed into the packets with the sauce atop, then baked for 20 minutes @ 450 degrees. The packets then sit on the counter for another 10 minutes before serving. This is where I went amiss. I didn't oil the bottom of the packets, assuming the rich sauce would serve this purpose. It didn't and the fish stuck, ruining what would have been a beautiful presentation. I also used 25 count shrimp instead of 20 count and their smaller size caused them to be slightly over cooked. As I said before, the recipes seem to work perfectly, provided you follow them to the letter.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Although I loved the sauce I didn't love the dish overall. Next time I would crisp the barramundi in a skillet, add the shrimp 1/2 through, and then pour the sauce on top. I would also add some veggies to this dish, such as a bed of shaved broccoli spears.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Packets of Haddock [Halibut] with zucchini, tomatoes, and parsley pesto page 223.

                                                                                                                                                                                              This comes together very quickly. I cut the amount of fish to feed one but kept the pesto at full amounts as I can always use up leftover pesto.Began by making the parsley pesto - just whirr in the fp a couple cups of parsley, olive oil, 2 cloves garlic. Then add pine nuts and Parmesan, then a steady trickle of EVOO - season to taste.
                                                                                                                                                                                              The recipe calls for 2 small zucchini and 16 cherry tomatoes ; I used a half a zucchini and just a few cherry tomatoes.
                                                                                                                                                                                              You tear an 18" by 12" sheet of foil, which is folded in thirds the long way - then gently unfolded. The zucchini are tossed in oil, and laid down first, followed by oiled tomatoes and a sprinkling of salt. Season
                                                                                                                                                                                              fish with kosher salt, and freshly ground white pepper and place it on the veggies. You then top it off with
                                                                                                                                                                                              a spoonful of pesto and use the 'drugstore wrap' to fully enclose the packet[s]. Packet[s] are then placed
                                                                                                                                                                                              on baking sheet and baked for 15 minutes in a preheated 400 oven. Open carefully - there is a large
                                                                                                                                                                                              escape of steam.
                                                                                                                                                                                              There was also a larger than expected amount of liquid in the packet. Moonen advises serving in a soup bowl ( which I did). I included simply boiled new potatoes and a simple salad. I actually did pour off a little of the excess liquid. This recipe produced the most perfectly cooked -thru piece of fish I have ever had. Was glad I had gotten a 6 oz. piece of fish - as was dictated in the recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                              This was not a spicy or highly flavored dish - but perfect for those times when you want a simple, fresh flavors. I did decide to go back to the kitchen for the white pepper grinder . Apparently, I'm not the only new fan of Moonen's cooking because in the scant minute my back was turned my tabby cat somehow leapt on the table and snatched the fish - and this is only the second time in his little life he's been this naughty! Am looking forward to trying this again soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                                Packets of Haddock, etc., p. 223.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Blythe Sprirt has described this in helpful detail. My notes say "a delicious, fresh, summery recipe." The method does produce beautifully cooked pieces of fish. You don't need to serve much else besides the squash and tomatoes and parsley pesto tucked inside the packets--I just had some good bread . The tomatoes and zucchini are pretty on the plate and the parsley pesto gives nice color and flavor. As Blythe Spirit says, "not a spicy or highly flavored dish but perfect . . . when you want simple fresh flavors." And the flavor and texture of the fish (haddock in my case, but there are several recommended substitutions) came through beautifully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                  So glad you enjoyed this Goblin :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Packets of Haddock, etc., p. 223.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Made this last night again--a year and a month since my last making, and I have to say, it was still a keeper-recipe. I love that it can be set up ahead, too. (If refrigerated, it may take longer than 15 minutes to bake--mine did.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think I appreciated the flavor and texture of the parsley pesto even more the second time around. The pesto has a wonderful "green" flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Packets of Haddock With Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Parsley Pesto/ Pg. 223

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I made these packets way back on 2 Mar 2009 then made it again on the 22nd but reported in the Poaching/Steaming/Boiling chapter. It was the very first recipe I made from the book and we loved it. I'm so glad that others found it to be as good as we did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6001...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                      For a couple of years we had so many "Italian" squash in our garden, that we've used this method so often, but always using parchment paper to wrap. To keep the parchment paper from popping up, to keep it wrapped without stapling it, we put on top of the packet/package a Corning Ware white pan upside down on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Rella, in the Basics chapter there's a description for using aluminum foil or parchment for wrapping fish Moonen calls the "drugstore" technique, or something like that. I don't have the book in front of me at the moment but the pleating method he uses definitely keeps the paper tightly folded without any other device to do so. It's easy to master and works like a charm... I've used it many times with both foil and parchment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://books.google.com/books?id=BffV...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I see on p. 39, where he references the "drugstore wrap." He says that "In the traditional reparation, parchment is the wrapper of choice. Aluminum foil is much easier to use, and it gives the tight seal that's essential."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's true, it Is easier to use but the technique works equally well for parchment paper too. One just has to crease the paper tighter....

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, I'm certainly going to try it. I was of the opinion that parchment paper really has a mind of its own and is un-tame-able. :-))
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Parchment is definitely tricky. I once used an En Papillote recipe that called for using a 20 inch square of parchment that is folded in half - then you cut a large-as-you-can heart shape. After unfolding, placing the fish in the middle, the top half of the parchment is then folded over the fish. You then make small, overlapping folds along the edges until the whole package is sealed. This actually works well. Foil is easier though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks. I'll give both a try. But I wonder why I am going to :-))

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  when in fact, I just like folding the parchment around willy-nilly around the ingredients, but tightly enough, then placing a weight to keep in place. Not a big bowl-of-a-weight, but just enough a smaller bowl to keep the parchment from flying apart/opening up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  BTW, I've seen the heart-shaped instructions somewhere in the past, but have never tried it, and am glad to hear that it does work well. Thanks again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Exactly, Rella...Loved it. Do whatever YOU want. Life's too short to fret about the small stuff..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You're welcome :-)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I forgot to mention ( if you do try the parchment) to tightly twist the last part of the parchment. It twists better some times than others so after twisting tightly I've also tucked it under the packet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You're right - it's actually very willy-nilly. As long as the folds are small and overlap each other it works. Suppose the only reason to actually use parchment is for dramatic effect when serving en Papillote at the table. An unnecessary conceit, no doubt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I've sometimes wanted that dramatic effect/unneccesary conceit myself :-))
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        All skills appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Chicken-Fried Soft-Shell Crabs, p. 273

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had soft-shell crabs to use and liked our fish using this recipe so much that I decided to make ss crab sandwiches for lunch today. I soaked them in the wonderful buttermilk marinade (discussed above in C-F Trout report) for only about 30 minutes or so and dredged them in seasoned flour as I didn't read the recipe carefully enough and missed the call for cornmeal too (but I know cornmeal coating is always good on softshells). As I was rushed, I didn't put them on a rack and let the coating set so it didn't stay on very well as a result, but it didn't really matter. (Using a tip from JoanN, I weighted the crabs w/a foil-wrapped brick while they fried, though, and that worked well for getting rid of excess water).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I didn't follow the book's suggestion for the SS Crab BLT exactly--I skipped the bacon, subbed arugula for lettuce, and sanwiched that along w/crab, ripe tomato, mayo, and avocado between two slices of lightly toasted sourdough--but the result was "awesome" nonetheless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made this one last week. Thought my geeky and somewhat culinarily unpredictable kids (11 and 7) might think the notion of the edible exoskeleton was kind of cool and creepy at the same time! They were into it in theory, but unfortunately, in execution it was a bit much for them...too many bits for this generation raised on boneless everything ;( And this from someone who grew up in a largely veggie household. That's ok -- all the more for me! But I digress...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have made this before but forgotten to report and it was as delicious as ever. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, other than varying the dipping sauce for serving. I didn't seen the foil-wrapped brick suggestion beforehand, but had no problem with moisture or the coating sticking. I didn't put mine over a rack -- just in the fridge for a bit on a plate to set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Served with Cilantro Aioli (p. 419 -- will report separately) and a riff on the Harissa Mayo from the Tuna burgers with a prepared Harissa I really like and creme fraiche instead of mayo -- yum, yum, yum! Looking forward to trying the BLT sandwich version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Shrimp Fritters p.264

                                                                                                                                                                                                        These are treats. The batter contains club soda (I had none, used beer for the carbonation) and lime juice, eggs, self-rising flour. Then comes chopped shrimp (he didn't specify, but I chopped into 1/2" pieces) and chopped red bell pepper, chopped red onion, cilantro (I subbed green onion). All mixed and dropped by heaping tablespoons into hot oil. When gold and crisp, remove to rack. I did have to add flour to thicken the batter a bit, he warns of this.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Delicious of course, maybe too mild for some, but you can taste the shrimp.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't make his sauce. It calls for lots of fish sauce. I appreciate the stuff, but use it by the drop.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mayonnaise with a little garlic and a little heat added would be good, that would head in the direction his sauce goes (?), but without the scary fish sauce. (It was very easy to eat these up without any sauce, one after another.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Would definitely make these again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know what you mean blue room. I personally love fish sauce, but I find some recipes a little heavy handed with it. I haven't looked at this one, but I will definitely take a peek when I get home as this looks delicioius.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Shrimp Fritters, p.264

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree with blue room: these were quite the treat. I made a half recipe, following it to the letter except that, like blue room, I had to add flour to thicken the batter a bit. But once I did, these were perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I did make the dipping sauce, which we loved w/the fritters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd also make these again; they had my husband swooning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Catfish Tacos p.270

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Everything went well, but we both knew immediately that we'd had better fish tacos. Arrogant, I know. These had a choice of beer batter or cornmeal batter. Since I made my own flour tortillas, I chose the cornmeal. It's very thick, and sticks well to the fish and is very crisp--substantial stuff ! It's made with Bisquik, milk, and cornmeal. Should have some seasoning though, IMO. The fish is salt and peppered, battered and fried, served with Napa cabbage. (The cabbage gets salted and tossed with lime juice.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also made the Mango Salso (p. 394) I made it with a peach, but I could tell it would be just as nice--nicer--with the ripe mango I didn't have. It's good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The tortillas -- buttermilk tortillas ! -- are my first attempt so they are funny shapes, but wow so tender and a tasty revelation. No more store bought, it's as simple as that. Warm those up and they're heaven. (Not from the book, I just happened to see these recently

                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://blog.betterthanburgers.net/201...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            )

                                                                                                                                                                                                            All in all, I'd make the salsa again, but wouldn't use catfish for tacos, nor would I use the heavy cornmeal batter again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm sure the choice of catfish rather than cod made me like these less than ones I've had in the past. And the batter could have been more delicate and seasoned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                                              About 50% of the time with fish tacos I cheat and use frozen fish sticks. Totally guilty pleasure, and so easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The only fish tacos we've ever had, and this was just months ago, came from a place called Lone Star Taqueria -- it turned out to be sort of famous -- and practically within walking distance ! We were clueless.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.fodors.com/world/north-ame...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                So I guess we're spoiled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Page 248-249 Almond-Crusted Barramundi {Swordfish} with Spinach and Pickled Onions

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Better late than never... We tried this with skinned 5-6 oz filets of swordfish, one of his recommended substitutes. One of the things we thought was odd, though was the inconsistent info in the "about nut crusts" sidebar, where he says to "avoid oily fish like [...] swordfish." Also, we just did the fish and the spinach, not the pickled onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Basically, you grind almond+cayenne until finely chopped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Season the fish with S+WP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In a medium-high skillet (we believe ours was a touch too high), saute spinach in olive oil, season with S&WP, set aside in a colander while you cook the fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dredge the fish in flour, then dip it in egg white, then press it down in the chopped nuts mixture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In skillet heated to medium high, add vegetable oil, fish (crust-side down), and butter (we cut the butter in half from 2 TBSP to 1). Cook on 3-4 mins on medium. Flip and cook another 1-2 mins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Serve crust-side up on a bed of spinach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Our crust separated from the fish, but was still delicious. I think maybe our pan was too hot, or we just need a little more practice. I asked my husband to rank it on a scale of 1-10 and he said he'd give it a 9 if the If the crust had stayed on. He was also puzzled as to why he has you only use the white (and not the yolk) of the egg because he normally uses a whole egg with battered fish. I think it's so the crust gets crustier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyway, we'll definitely try again, maybe experiment with different nuts and fish, too. Aside from the small amount of butter, this felt pretty virtuous and was pretty delicious. I don't feel as if I missed the pickled onions, but I do wonder what I was missing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I made this pre-COTM ( http://www.chow.com/photos/264523 ) and served it with the pickled onions from Zuni since that's a condiment I nearly always have on hand. I was surprised at how well the onions paired with the the richness of the nut-crusted fish. I didn't have any difficulty with the nut crust sticking and it doesn't seem from my notes as though I did anything other than follow his instructions. Is there a chance that your fish wasn't sufficiently dry before it was coated? Anyway, if you do do this again, I recommend trying the pickled onions. Although you should make them the day before, they're easy enough, keep forever, and are terrific in salads and on sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, wow, yours looks gorgeous. We did pat the fish dry before coating it, so I don't think that was the issue. I think our pan was too hot and the nut crust stuck to the pan...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In any case, next time I will try to remember to do the pickled onions the day before!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Have you tried this nut crusting with any other nuts/fish/spices? It seems to me that it would be a fun thing to do to make tilapia a little more interesting...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. SAUTEED [BARRAMUNDI] with ORANGE-SOY VINAIGRETTE, p. 244

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I could swear I saw a report on this dish, but I've been through this thread twice and can't find it so here goes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I spotted (frozen) barramundi fillets at WF, and I'm glad to have discovered this fish, which reminded me a lot of Chilean sea bass. This particular dish wasn't very well-executed--I was rushing and not taking enough care: I should have blotted out more of the moisture from the thawed fish; I should have let my pan get hotter before putting in the fish; I should have made a whole recipe of vinaigrette even though I was cooking onlt two fillets. Still, it was good, and I'd definitely make it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The vinaigrette is a little fussy, though not really hard--unless you try to make half a recipe as I did (not enough liquid to work with/blend): you start by sauteing slices of fresh ginger (1/3 c) in 1 T oil for about 30 seconds, then add 1/4 c sliced shallots and 1 T sliced garlic and saute another 30-45 seconds, then juice from 2 oranges, pieces of the rind (FWAD recommends using that of 1 1/2 of the oranges), 1 T sherry vinegar, and 1 tsp. soy sauce. bring to boil; reduce to a simmer and reduce by 2/3 to syrupy consistency. Add 1/4 c. chicken stock (or fumet, if you have it) and return to simmer for a few minutes. (I did this very briefly as I was working with such small amounts when I reduced everything by half.) Strain, pressing on solids. You add this to a blender and slowly dribble in 1/2 c veg oil while blending and then add 1 tsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt. (I had so little of the orange base that I ended up whisking in the oil right in my measuring cup.) This vinaigrette is delicious; I can imagine using it on a lot of other seafoods as well as veggies. I sure wish I'd made the entire recipe's worth!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The sauteeing is a snap as you all know, provided you heat the pan enough to get that sizzle for the crust formation. I didn't and cooking the fish took longer than it should have, and I almost burned the butter added to the pan and then had to let it sit off the heat longer than a minute. (I was kicking myself as I saute fish all the time and should know better.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not a complete failure--loved the sauce, discovered I love barramundi, which is reasonably priced compared to a lot of other fish available to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I served this w/blistered green beans w/garlic (managed to screw up those too) and leftover Vietnamese garlic noodles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Dorade (Striped Bass) in a Potato Crust, p. 250. The recipe specified 1 1/2 # of dorade; I used striped bass. Serves 4.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The introductory note says it all: "in this classic recipe, tender fish filets are wrapped in a crisp brown jacket of potatoes." And the packets of fish can be set up hours ahead in the refrigerator.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This was a success--turned out exactly as the note said, and my family loved it. However, I found that I had to modify some of the instructions to get this result. I will detail them below.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  First, you are instructed to peel 2 large russet potatoes and then slice them the long way "paper thin." The slices are then microwaved in 1/2 # of butter until softened. (You reserve the butter for sauteing the packets..) Perhaps my russet potatoes were extra-giant, but I found that I only needed 1 of them to create enough slices to wrap up my filets. Even though my slices were a NOT paper-thin (more like 1/16" thick. ) I ended up with a LOT left over. Next time I will only use 1 potato and 1 stick of butter. You'll still have plenty of butter left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Why were my slices so relatively thick? Because my new OXO mandoline refused to cut them any thinner! I had just replaced my old white plastic German one (a bear to assemble, dangerous to use, but it could really slice those taters with its wicked V-shaped blades!) My new safer one wouldn't do paper-thin. Don't know why. Maybe because the russets were so burly and didn't really "fit" lengthwise on the cutting plate? Anyway, I used the thicker slices and they were perfectly acceptable, IMHO. They provided a nice crispy layer of "scalloped potatoes" to accompany the fish. The slices did take appreciably longer to soften in the microwave: at least 2 minutes as opposed to 20 seconds. I wanted them to be tender before the sauteeing process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Anyway, softened potato slices in hand, you lay a large piece of plastic wrap on your countertop and place 4 of them on it in an overlapping row, long sides toward you, with 4 more aligned just below that. On top of the first row, I placed my four beautiful striped bass filets, freshly caught and cut into 4" x 4" pieces. Sprinkle with s & p, and smear with about 1 tsp of parsley pesto (p. 422.) Then you just lift the plastic wrap and fold the bottom row of potato slices up and over the filets, encompassing them entirely, and then wrap up the little packets tightly. Sounds complicated, but it's actually quite easy once you've figured out the first one. They go in the refrigerator "for a minimum of 2 hours." And that's what I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At dinner time, you pour the reserved butter into a skillet and proceed to saute the packets--you've removed the plastic wrap first! ;-) --turning them (carefully) several times, till the potatoes are nicely browned and the filets are cooked through (both processes takes about the same amount of time--about 14 minutes in my case.) I was surprised that the potatoes basically stayed in place--only a little falling off, but I could push them back on. (Love my new Lamson fish spatula!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To serve, blot the packets with a paper towel and serve with the extra parsley pesto, plus a bowl of peperonata (p. 405.) The combination of green pesto with the colorful mix of peppers and tomatoes tasted great with the fish and also looked really pretty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My family has asked for this again. I really think I prefer the thicker slices. of potato. It's a fun way to have your starch and eat it too! ;-) Served with sauteed summer squash and crusty bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That was a bit of a do, Goblin. Sounds delightful but A Half Pound Of Butter??? No wonder they were delicious. I was really interested in your "safer" mandoline. I need a new one... think I'll pass on this one, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gio, I purchased my OXO Mandoline because Cooks Illustrated highly recommended it. But I now note that there is an OXO "Good Grips" Mandoline that gets their top ranking. It has a V-shaped slicer, and it's less expensive than the first one. I suspect that it could handle a larger russet potato better than the regular OXO mandolin, with its straight blade.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just mind those fingers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's what Cooks Illustrated says about the OXO Good Grips Mandoline slicer, in their exuipment reviews:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "OXO Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Razor-sharp V-blade made short work of a variety of fruits and vegetables, with a wide, sturdy gripper guard that felt exceptionally safe. Extra blades conveniently stored beneath the frame. Measurement-marked dial sets slice thickness."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I own the OXO Good Grips V-slicer as shown below. Mine came with two extra blades. The smallest width 1/16th of an inch is not the most useful setting. But the next setting is well-used and would be the correct width for these potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't use the hand guard as often as I should, but it has never felt like a "dangerous" piece of equipment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Grips-V-Bla...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Impressive effort, Goblin. Sounds wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ah, the mandoline slicers: I treated myself to a fancy (and fussy) one a few years ago, and while it worked beautifully, it was a PITB to set up, clean, store, etc. I used it only a few times before buying an inexpensive, portable, plastic V-slicer with interchangeable blades, but it's too narrow to slice whole onions or potatoes if they're large. I'm going to have to take a look at the Oxo Good Grips and see if it might handle the larger onions and potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. Packets of Bluefish with Peperonata, p. 222.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When my weekly CSA "box" of fish surprises me with something a bit different, I always turn to Fish Without a Doubt, which never disappoints. It was bluefish yesterday, so I duly found this recipe, made the peperonata sauce on p. 465, minced the 1/3 cup of kalamata olives, and assembled the packets in tin foil to bake. It really couldn't be much quicker and easier once the peperonata sauce is made: sauteed onions, garlic, anchovies, red/yellow bell peppers and an Anaheim or Hungarian pepper, or some red pepper flakes if you don't have those-- I didn't. Toss in a can of diced tomatoes, or chopped fresh if you have them and some fresh thyme, and simmer until peppers are tender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Then you just put a dollop of peperonata sauce on a piece of foil, place pieces of bluefist fillet on top, spread some chopped kalamata olives mixed into a paste with olive oil, the then fold foil into a packet and bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 400 F. Unwrap, slide into a bowl or deep plate, top with chopped parsley, and serve!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What emerges is a colorful, savory piece of fish with a fragrant sauce that cries out for good bread, rice, or your starch of choice. The oiliness and assertive flavor of the bluefish stands up perfectly to the peperonata and olives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How could I have missed this recipe? I love bluefish and my local fisherman should have it now. Thanks for finding it and letting us know about it. Can't wait to give it a try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh Joan, I think that this recipe will satisfy! I was surprised by how good it was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Packets of Bluefish with Peperonata (page 222)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can't thank you enough, Goblin, for finding this recipe and bringing it to our attention.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Saturday morning is when the fisherman shows up at my local farmer's market and I ran down bright and early and was rewarded. He did indeed have bluefish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I made half a recipe of the peperonata using only red peppers and a pinch of crushed red pepper because that was what I had. I think you need to be extra careful of the timing if you make only half, because I left the kitchen, set the timer, and wasn't paying attention and scorched what was on the bottom of the pan. But I was able to salvage most of it and couldn't discern any burnt taste in the finished dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm lo-carbing it so passed on the bread or rice, but I got up and got a soup spoon to spoon up every bit of sauce. Next time, lo-carbing or no, I'm buying a baguette.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The dish more than satisfied; and the bluefish was perfectly cooked. I'm kicking myself for having passed it by all these years. THAT won't happen again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Joan, what a great review of your take on this recipe. So glad that it worked for you, I love that it was so good for bluefish, and I think it would also be great with other "meaty" fish like swordfish or halibut.