This Sunday I decided to leave the soup genre and jump right into more appealing French dishes. Just what my husband and friends have been waiting for!
A little backstory about fish. I don’t eat it, I don’t like it, and I don’t care for the smell. I grew up in a household where fish was never served, thanks to my dad being allergic. However, there was a short period of time where I ate fish sticks, the frozen ones that were probably cooked in the microwave. I obviously ate them covered in the childhood- condiment-of-choice ketchup…That was until my unknown fish-eating doomsday...I found out they were NOT chicken nuggets and I never went back.
As an adult I have wanted to and have really tried to like fish but I have yet to jump on the bandwagon. Everyone around me loves fish, I even sometimes go out to happy hour at a fish market where the only meal for me is a cheeseburger, so needless to say, my cooking a fish is a big deal.
In culinary school, I would taste Chef J’s dishes after demonstration, the only one that I sort-of, kind-of, liked was a crusted halibut, everything else was a miss. Soooo, I have mastered the skill of cleaning, filleting, and cooking fish without tasting it throughout my own practice.
Sunday was the night of all nights. After almost 7 years together, I finally made the very first fish dinner. Brad has been waiting for this day since my first day of culinary school over a year ago.
So this is how it went. I searched high and low for a full trout, since I was finally doing this, I decided to go big and show off my cleaning and filleting skills..however I never found one :(. I just ended up buying already cut rainbow trout filets. At the very least, I impressed Brad with my skinning skills…something I would have never tried/done well without school.
After the fish was seasoned and dredged in flour I cooked them in a hot pan with clarified butter and then finished them in the oven on a rack. Meanwhile, in the pan, I made the meunière sauce which is browned butter with lemon juice and parsley.
I served the fish with a side salad and a parmesan cheese crisp! (also something we learned in school). Just take parmesan cheese and create a circle or any shape really on a silpat and bake at 350 degrees until brown. Remove and rest on a napkin.
I ended up forgetting the fish in the oven a minute or two too long but overall the fish was delicious- or so I was told. Praises all around.
We ended the dinner with a pear tart. It didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned. I think I could have poached the pears longer. Also, as I searched high and low for a trout, I also searched the entire city for Star Anise – who knew that wasn’t a common spice??? I got a reality check this weekend – I took for granted the readily available ingredients in culinary school & the fact that someone else did our dishes…
Anyways, back to the pear tart. I poached the pears in a simple syrup with some spices.
While that I made a homemade tart shell – which I almost forgot the butter because it was being used as a bookmark in my school recipe book – phew that was a close call.
I assembled the tart and baked it. Looking back it could have probably baked a little longer too. But it was pretty.
And the crust was a buttery crispy wonderland. I made 90 degree angles which is a Culinary School win in my book.
That was a busy Sunday but it was worth it!
Next time – LE COQ AU VIN & LE RIZ PILAF