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January 2010 COTM: Patricia Wells FISH AND SHELLFISH

Welcome to the FISH AND SHELLFISH thread for the January 2010 Cookbook of the Month, featuring Bistro Cooking & Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy.

Please post your reviews of Fish and Shellfish (BC & T) chapters here.

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  1. Moules a la Provencale (Mussels with Tomatoes, Garlic, Olive Oil. and Wine), Pg. 154, Bistro Cooking

    A very nice dish this. Flavorful but light, and looked much more extravagant than it was. The ingredients are: 1 1/2 lbs mussels, dry white wine, garlic, bay leaves, shallots, 28 oz can of drained whole tomatoes, red pepper flakes, EVOO, parsley. After the mussels are scrubbed they are put into a skillet with the wine, garlic, bay leaves, and shallots. The pan is covered and the mussels are cooked till they begin to open then they're removed from the skillet with a slotted spoon. The remaining liquid is strained and reserved.
    When the mussels are cool enough to handle the top shell is removed and the mussels are divided between soup bowls.

    Into the skillet go the strained liquid, tomatoes, and RPF. This is brought to the boil, cooked for a few minutes then the olive oil is stirred into the sauce. The sauce is spooned over the mussels and the dish is sprinkled with the minced parsley. DH loved it. I liked it. It's a different recipe than I usually make and that's a good thing... variety being the spice of life and all. I served it with Roasted Cabbage with Raisins from the Gourmet Today cookbook, pg. 380 and baked potatoes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Gio, would you like to adopt me? Dinners at your house always sound so nice!

      1. re: greedygirl

        Why yes....I'd love to. And, Thank You!

    2. Escalope de Saumon frais roti a l'huile d'olive (fresh roasted salmon with olive oil) p. 144

      Whichever language you read that name in, it really doesn't adequately describe the dish, in my mind. You make a sauce of sauted shallots, chopped tomatoes (I used canned - who can find good tomatoes at this time of year?) cook it down a bit and then add creme fraiche or heavy cream until warm. Set sauce aside. Brush the salmon on both sides with olive oil, sear on both sides for 2 minutes, then pop in 325 degree oven for 5 minutes. Serve with sauce. I was a little leery of this one but wanted to try it anyway - salmon with tomatoes and cream? Sounded weird. But the salmon was nicely cooked - still silky in the center but with a nice browning on the outside, and the sauce was pleasant. We all gave it a solid B, possibly B+. Served with fennel salad and a baguette. I wish I'd paid more attention to her headnote where she says she had this with a red Chateauneuf-de-Pape, because I served it with a chardonnay, and I think the red (especially a nice C-de-P!) would have been a better match. No photo today.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LulusMom

        Did you add the basil to the sauce at the end? I've been making this dish forever and it's one of our favorites! However, I just bake the salmon skin side up without any oil, then top with sauce to serve.

        1. re: ElaineL

          Yep, added the basil at the end, and did top the fish with the sauce instead of serving over it. We liked it, just didn't love it. I don't think there is anything at all wrong with this recipe, more that it just wasn't strongly to our tastes.

      2. Daurade Grille, Sauce au Poivrons, Capres, et Cumin (p. 146)

        I love this recipe. it is my favorite from the book. However, I do make some changes. I just use fillets instead of whole fish. I lightly flour them then pan fry. I also sub butter for the olive oil in the sauce - butter, capers, cumin seeds (I leave out the red peppers). I made it as written (except with fillets) the first time, and have gradually adjusted it to my tastes, but that mixture of capers and cumin seeds is really fantastic. You just pour the sauce onto the pan-fried fish. Lovely.

        3 Replies
        1. re: LulusMom

          Great, I will check this one out when my kitchen is back up and running. In the meantime, since you are a fish lover, try the Sauce Gribiche over fish. I've used it over sauteed skate wings, and it's lovely!

          1. re: Westminstress

            I looooove skate. Is the sauce gribiche in a sauce section?

            1. re: LulusMom

              yes, in my addition it's on p. 265, in the sauce section.