Wild Striped Bass with 5 Types of Mushrooms, and an Endive Salad – Day 35

TODAY’S TIDBITS

  • When sautéing mushrooms in butter, throw in a sprig of thyme and a clove of crushed garlic before the mushrooms. This adds one more element to the flavor. For an added punch, add finely diced shallots near the end of browning.
  • Use your fish spatula to rest your fish after cooking – saves on a dish.
  • While beef is called beef anywhere in the world, fish have a multitude of names depending on what part of the world you’re in. Patagonia Toothfish is the real name for ‘Chilean Seabass’ – but would you really ever order a toothfish for diner?

We walked into the kitchen to be greeted by a GIANT bass. I’m used to those little basses (sp?) that we manage to catch off the dock – not this almost tuna-like fish monster. Chef Jeff showed us the orange tag proving it was wild, and then how to fillet it, which was like filleting the tiny fish we had done prior, but yielded enough for the whole class.

Before......
Before……
...and after
…and after

Today’s theme was ‘seasonality’ so everything on our dishes was supposed to be fresh and in season. Our main dish, the bass served over 5 different mushrooms was reasonably easy to execute. The recipe said to sauté each type of mushroom separately to get them perfectly. Chef J did them all in together. My job was to do the mushrooms and Dalal (my partner today) did the delicious sauce (port, sherry, demi-glace reduced down to a syrop). We each did our own bass. I didn’t do a great job on the mushrooms but learnt a few tricks along the way. Cooking the bass was pretty simple (marinade in oil and 5-spice, sauté in oil and butter with thyme and garlic in the pan, oven for 10min, and then a quick butter baste). This was served over the mushrooms and sauce. (Never put the sauce or the mushrooms over the fish – you want to see the nicely seared skin).

Dalal micro-chopping chives
Dalal micro-chopping chives
Endive Salad - note the overlapping-on-the-rim mistake
Endive Salad – note the overlapping-on-the-rim mistake

The other dish was an endive-pear-watercress-pear-beet salad with vinaigrette and Roquefort cheese. I’ve made a similar dish for years. Joe suggested putting the cheese in the vinaigrette which tasted great. We got dinged a bit because our endives were overlapping the rim of the plate. [As an aside, Chef Bauer made a vegetable medley the other day, and suggested using cream cheese rather than cream as a binding agent, and it tasted amazing]. The pace in the classroom has been somewhat slower recently which is a bit disappointing –but tomorrow is cheese day, which I’m very much looking forward to – might have to take a lactaid pill in the morning….

The fish resting on our spatulas - saves on cleaning a cooling rack
The fish resting on our spatulas – saves on cleaning a cooling rack

Oh and the bread class is back, so I grabbed one of those delicious freshly baked baguettes!

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