Happy New Year! As I mentioned Phil and I decided to take it easy this year by having a nice supper at home. I decided to make something out of my Mastering the Art of French Cooking book Phil got me for Christmas. We started off with oysters and champagne and leek and potato soup as the second course. With the fish we had had green beans and fingerling potatoes sauteed in butter and fresh tarragon. By the way, I'm really a fan of tarragon lately.
It would be best to reference the cookbook, but here is a similar version for now. There are a lot of steps to this recipe and it's easy to miss something if you don't read it before you begin cooking. My fish was a little overcooked but the sauce was very tasty. I changed the recipe to suit 2 people roughly.
1 Cup of mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs of finely minced shallots
2 Tbs of butter
1/8 Tsp of salt
Pinch of pepper
2 Sole filets
1 1/2 Cups of cold white wine and water, mixed
2 Tbs of flour and 3 Tbs of softened butter blended to a paste
3/4 Cup of whipping cream
1/4 Cup of of grated swiss cheese
1 Tbs. of butter cut into bits
Buttered parchment paper
For the sole:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Toss the mushrooms in hot butter over moderately high heat for a minute or two without browning. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Sprinkle half the shallots in the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Season the filets lightly with salt and pepper and arrange them in one slightly overlapping layer and arrange mushrooms over them. If the fish is thin, they may be folded in half so they make triangles. Sprinkle the filets with the remaining shallots and dot with butter. Pour in the liquid and water so the fish is barley covered.
Bring almost to a simmer on top of the stove. Lay the buttered paper over the fish. Then place dish in bottom third of preheated oven. Maintain liquid almost at the simmer for 8 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets. The fish is done when a fork pierces the flesh easily. Do not overcook! I did and my fish was a little dry and flaky.
Place a cover over the dish and drain out all the cooking liquids into a saucepan (The cookbook recommends an enameled pan). Preheat the oven to broil on high.
The fish is now poached and ready for saucing. It may be covered and kept warm for a few minutes over hot, but not simmering water ( I think this is where I overcooked mine). Or set aside covered with its piece of paper, and reheat later for a few minutes over simmering water. Before saucing the fish drain off any liquid which accumulated in the dish.
For the sauce:
Rapidly boil down the poaching liquid until it has reduced to 1 cup.
Off heat, beat the flour and butter paste in to the hot liquid, then 1/2 cup of cream. Bring to a boil. Thin out the sauce with additional tablespoons of cream until it coats the spoon. Season with salt and pepper and drops of lemon juice.
Spoon the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle on the cheese and dot with butter. Place dish 6 to 7 inches from broiler for 2-3 minutes to reheat fish and brown top of sauce lighlty. Serve as soon as possible.