THAT BRIGHT YELLOW BOX WITH THE SALTY FISHERMAN GORTON, I GREW UP ON THAT STUFF. IT WAS GOOD, DAMN GOOD. IF I KNEW WHAT WAS IN IT BACK THEN, I PROBABLY STILL WOULD HAVE ATE IT. AFTER ALL, IT WAS MERELY A FRIED VEHICLE FOR A MOUND OF TARTAR SAUCE. BUT I DIGRESS....
This week picked up where we left off last week, fish. Last week's first fish lesson was on round fish, which consists of trout, bass, snapper, tuna...basically anything that has a roundish body and eyes on the sides of it's head. This week we started with flatfish, who's bodies are flat and their eyes are on top of their head. They actually start off life as a "round" fish and as they mature slowly "lean over" and their eyes actually move to the top of the head. Weird, but delicious. Sole, flounder, and halibut all fit under this category.
So with that being said, let's fry some flounder! This dish is basically the French version of fish sticks but with a fancy name "Goujonettes De Limande Aux Deux Sauces", which translates to Bread Crumb-Coated Flounder with Two Sauces.
This next dish was incredible! So much so that I think it may end up on this years Christmas Eve menu. "Filet De Limande Bonne Femme", or Braised Flounder with White Wine, Shallots and Cream is a rich dish with tons of flavor.
Shellfish day, a.k.a. the best day to date at school. I mean who wouldn't get excited about mussels, scallops, clams, oysters and LOBSTER!!!!! In class we learn beyond what the textbooks say. A lot of it comes from our Chef Instructors, like the difference between sea urchin and uni. Uni is just sea urchin that has been brined to firm it up, and it is delicious! Even if it is the reproductive organ. Need to get the meat out of a lobster claw and you forgot your cracker at home.....a few gentle hits with the back of a knife and voila, sweet lobster not mangled.
These mussels were missing one thing....an cold beer! Because mussels and beer were made for each other. Seriously though, these mussels were so easy and the juice was quickly mopped up with fresh baked baguette from our baking department. Every day, the bread made in the baking classes gets put on a shelf and it is free to anyone who wants it. I am talking fresh baguettes, multigrain, sourdough, crusty pane di casa......it is dangerous to say the least.
MOULES A LA MARINERE ( STEAMED MUSSELS WITH WHITE WINE, SHALLOTS AND PARSLEY)
1 LB OF MUSSELS
SMALL BUNCH OF FLAT LEAF PARSLEY
3 TBS. BUTTER, small dice
1 SMALL SHALLOT, small dice
1/2 C OF WHITE WINE
2 BAY LEAVES
FRESH GROUND BLACK PEPPER
For Mise en Place:
Scrub the mussels and soak them in heavily salted cold water, discarding any that don't close when tapped. Drain and rinse them
Stem the parsley, chop the stems and leaves and reserve them separately
For Service and Per Order:
In a large wide saute pan, add the mussels, shallots, parsley stems, a few pieces of butter, bay leaf, wine and a few turns of the pepper mill.
Cover and bring to a boil, shaking the pan regularly. As the mussels begin to open, remove them to a metal bowl. Remove the beard if there is any.
When all the mussels are open, decant (carefully pour leaving any sediment behind) the remaining broth through a strainer into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce slightly. Remove from the heat, add the remaining butter and stir until all the butter is incorporated.
Place the mussels in a large warm bowl, pour over the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
One thing I love about school is the location. It is in SoHo (South of Houston St.) and is blocks away from Little Italy and Chinatown. It still has some old world charm with some cobblestone streets and small cafes, including a few alumni restaurants close by. And now, there is a high end kitchen shop opening up down the street with paper over the windows, and there are holes in it just big enough to get a peek at the beautiful equipment inside like the setup below. One can dream right?
WELL THATS ALL FOLKS! NEXT WEEK IS POULTRY, CAN'T WAIT TO START COOKING MORE PROTEIN!