Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fish Sauce

Anyone who knows me also knows that I am not the biggest fan of fish.  I'll eat most shellfish.  I love a good unagi roll (that's eel sushi).  I tolerate tilapia, halibut, and salmon.  I do not like trout.  It's the smell.  Also, my mom used to make me sit at the table until I finished my fish.  Now that I'm an adult, I just don't like fish.

I just finished a month of the HcG diet.  I lost 15 pounds, but still it's not as much as I'd hoped.  I cheated.  A lot.  Hard not to at college with so many things going on.  Anyway, I got sick of chicken, deli turkey, and steak fast.  So I went to the grocery store and gave in and got some tilapia and halibut.  Unfortunately, my tilapia wasn't that fresh; it smells fishy.  Since I'm not experienced with fish, I've been cooking it the same.  Defrost, rinse well, pat dry.  In the blender I ground sea salt Melba snacks, a little paprika, garlic salt, and lemon pepper until it was all a fine crumb mix.  Then I dip the fish in lemon juice and roll the filets in the crumbs.  Then I put them on parchment paper-lined baking sheets in the oven at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the fish just starts to flake with a fork.

I have a cooking lab on Friday late afternoons.  Last week we made Escalope of Salmon with Herb Cream Sauce.  Here's the recipe:

Yield: 12 servings,
(1 serving = 4 oz salmon and 1 ½ oz sauce)

1 oz shallots, chopped
½ oz butter
1 pt fish stock
8 fl oz dry white wine (2 oz white grape juice + 0.6 oz white wine vinegar)
4 parsley stems
½ bay leaf
1 pt heavy cream
tt lemon juice
tt salt and white pepper
tt chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, chives, or parsley)
4 lbs salmon fillets (escalopes), boneless, skinless
as needed, oil or clarified butter

  1. Sweat the shallots in butter until soft.
  2. Add stock, wine, parsley, and bay leaf. Over moderate or high heat reduce the liquid by three-fourths.
  3. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Boil 1-2 minutes, or until reduced to a light, sauce-like consistency.
  4. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, white pepper, and fresh chopped herbs (tarragon, chives, or parsley), and keep warm.
  5. Heat a little oil or clarified butter over high heat in a sauté pan. Sauté the 4 oz salmon escalope about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove and drain briefly on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  6. To serve, cover the bottom of a warm plate with sauce and place a salmon escalope on top.
I took the leftover sauce home for my tilapia (even though it went against the protocol).  Here's a tip:  dairy-based sauces or soups do not reheat well.  They will curdle and the fat will separate if it gets too hot.  Instead of microwaving it, put the sauce in the top of a double boiler (or a small sauce pot held over a medium sauce pot of boiling water), stirring until the sauce reaches the desired temperature.

This sauce is amazing!  It's creamy, lightly seasoned, and has just a hint of lemon.  It goes nicely with fish.  I highly recommend!