\No, I do not speak french, but I did learn two new words (blanquette and batonettes) while making this recipe from Le Cordon Blue at Home.
The original recipe for this fish stew called for monk fish, which was not available and probably not something I would choose to prepare, but I wanted to try this out and see what I could learn. I used fresh, wild cod, which was a very bad substitute and not firm enough and lobster would have been a better choice as far as texture goes.
But, there is a bright side. I knew right away that I would enjoy the classic mix of vegetables.. peas, carrots, turnips, pearl onions, green beans and mushrooms, even if it took me a lesson back to the early part of the book to learn what batonnetes means and how. Let me see, pretend I have a french accent: “Cut ze carrots and turnips into sticks, 1 1/4 inches long and 1/4 inch wide.”
Do they actually measure? I am afraid I tend to eyeball my food, but I did aim for consistency, feeling that intimidation that often comes from french cuisine. “Madame, that carrot is only 1 inch long.”
And, to welcome that pointed finger even further, I didn’t cook them as long as recommended, as I cooked them just until tender, one second from crisp. Shh, don’t tell. I was amused that the cooking directions called for so many pans to cook each vegetable separately, and I realized one could apply some shortcuts although I still used at least 3 pans and wondered where my bus boy was.
I then added frozen peas to the warmed vegetables already removed from stove, so peas could remain bright green.
In all honesty, this is quite a rich dish, and I can only see this as a very tiny portion of a meal that perhaps has several courses. I enjoyed what I learned in cutting my vegetables and I really enjoyed the taste of butter on the fish. The fish turned a nice beautiful golden brown, and I could have eaten it right then and there. The vegetables had just a touch of butter and were cooked perfectly, and were quite appetizing.
Putting it altogether, bound by a rich blanquette sauce (cream with an egg yolk) didn’t quite win me over, and in making this again, I would go much much lighter on the cream sauce, enjoying the freshness of the vegetables with just a touch of added creamy richness.
There was no picture in the cookbook, so it will be interesting to see what my Whisk Wednesday group will do. You can find out more here.
Recipe (adapted from Le Cordon Bleu at Home)
6 oz carrots
6 oz turnips
6 oz green beans
6 oz shelled peas
24 pearl onions (I used one large shallot diced)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper
6 oz button or quartered large mushrooms, trimmed, rinsed and dried
2 1/2 lbs monkfish fillets (I used fresh, wild cod)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, chopped fine
5 tablespoons flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf, leek green, celery stalk with leaf, parsley with stems)
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream (I must admit, I used half and half)
chervil or parsley leaves for garnish
Key Words: Whisk Wednesday, Fish, Cream Sauce, Le Cordon Bleu at Home
Spinach Tiger Entry 17 – Blanquette de Lotte aux Petits Légumes (Fish in White Wine Cream Sauce with Vegetables)
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