- The two broad fish categories are ROUND (muscly, fatty: = because they swim far in heavy currents: trout, salmon, tuna), and FLAT (lean, thin, both eyes on one side: because they live at the bottom where there is less current and don’t swim far: sole, flounder, halibut).
- Add salt to egg whites, and it will break them down slightly so they grip better (e.g. for sealing the papillote)
- 40% of a fish is guts and the head
Memories of soup MAYHEM day today. First the exam (I can hardly remember writing it after the chaos of today) which went pretty well (why do we pre-soak beans again?). Then the chaos: Even though we were only preparing two dishes, they were pretty involved, and had us rushing against the clock from start to finish.
The first dish, Trout Grenoble (sautéed trout a la meuniere / butter sauce), required us to filet the trout (de-fin, de-tail, de-head, de-bone, de-pinbone), make croutons, prepare a butter noisette (browned butter to hazelnut colour, lemon supremes, capers, parlsey). Chef Veronica really impressed on us the importance of having all our tools and ingredients ready to go, because the execution of this dish really takes just a few minutes but you have to be organized. Then Chef Veronica impressed it on us again! And then again! Did I mention she impressed on us the importance of being organized? I have to admit, I think I’m finally getting this message – my station is still messy, but at least I’m constantly now looking at “what bowl can I get rid of now?”….Places…Action: Okay, my mise en place is ready: flour the fish, sauté both side adding some butter, into the oven, brown the butter to hazelnut, add the lemon supremes, capers, parsley, fish out of the oven, cover with premade croutons, add three carefully carved boiled potato cocottes dipped in parsley, cover with sauce, present to chef. Phew!!!
To be honest, it was hectic but kinda fun. We ate the trout for lunch, and also the gravlax we prepared last week. I’ve really never tasted the different elements of gravlax before, but you could taste them all in this delicious salmon, the dill in particular.
After lunch it was the bass papillote (bass in a parchment tent). We already had filleted, skinned, and marinated the bass (oil and thyme), then again a ton of things to prepare (Miyako had prepared a lot of it in advance). A tomatoe fondue (tomatoes, shallots, garlic, bg, butter), a Duxelles (finely diced mushrooms, shallots, lemon), julienned celery/carrots/leeks. This was all assembled in a parchment tent, sealed with eggwash, oiled and in the oven for 10 minutes, snip a little hole in the tent, another 15 seconds in the oven, and then plate. This dish was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. I was expecting the trout to be the dish of the day (the similar sole meuniere was the dish that changed Julia Child’s life), but the bass won today hands down.
After class there was an optional taillage session by Chef Dominique which 15 of us attended that was very informative. He showed us some shortcuts and gave us hints about how to do the exam (start with onions, pick a small carrot, pick a large potato, make sure you have prepared at least some of everything, you don’t need 7 sides on your cocottes, etc…). My cocottes scored a 7 out of 10, so I know what I’m doing tonight!