Our latest foray into the recipes from Mastering the art of French cooking took us into unfamiliar territory – poached fish. Not that I’ve never eaten fish that has been poached, I’ve just never thought to try it at home. And bear in mind that Maggie’s appetite for fish is small, by volume, and narrow, by range.
Nevertheless, in the cause of making use of my Christmas present, and in the spirit of deference to Julia Child, we agreed that we would attempt to follow one of her recipes for poached fish, namely ‘filets de poisson Bercy aux champignons’. You can view the recipe at this address:
We followed the recipe closely, although we took some opportunities to reduce the amount of butter a little. We used ‘green’ onions, which are known as ‘spring’ onions in Melbourne but ‘shallots’ in Sydney. Go figure! The ‘green’ onions softened readily, so contributing to a soft texture dish by the time the dish was ready to serve and eat; shallots – aka as ‘French’ or ‘brown’ shallots – have a lovely flavour but would have been chewy, IMHO!
For fish, we took our fishmonger’s advice and chose a fillet of what is known here as ‘King Dory’. It was firm to the touch, not too thick, it held together through the two stages of the cooking and was delightful to eat, with a mild flavour that melded perfectly with the mushrooms and the sauce.
Some people might think it unusual to cook mushrooms with fish. By way of encouragement, I would point them in the direction of Coquilles St Jacques, one of the classic dishes of French cuisine.
We will definitely cook this again and we would be very pleased to serve it to dinner guests. We accompanied the dish with some small potatoes and a simple, fresh pea & lettuce salad.