Monday, May 01, 2006

Poached Fish for breakfast, anyone? Anyone?

Bueller? Bueller? I think the title of this post pretty much sums it up, don't you?

I'm not usually an "only breakfast food for breakfast" kinda gal--one of my absolute fave breakfast foods is leftover spaghetti, which always tastes better the next day, in my opinion--but today's class was kinda rough on the ol' palate. We did moist heat cooking (sounds appetizing, doesn't it? "moist heat"...ugh) with poaching, steaming, and simmering (that sounds much better in these terms). We started off by making salmon mousseline (fish mush in laypeople's terms!) and spreading on fish fillets and rolling them up to be poached.

Now, I know that the world loves salmon, and I like it too, but only in specific forms. Very specific forms. Like raw and smoked. Don't squee out on me just yet...raw salmon sushi is a great beginner sushi, because it has such a buttery texture and mild flavor. Somehow, the cooking process manages to take all that is good out of the salmon and send it to Neverneverland or some other place other than on my taste buds. I'm weird, I know, and you should know THAT by now, too.

Anyway, poached salmon at 8 am can be trying for most folks, but I soldiered on. It was much better when he put this cream sauce on top of the poached fish stuffed with salmon. I am a most firm believer that anything can be made better by the addition of cream and/or butter. Especially butter.

We also did a tagine of cod; at least I think it was cod...could have been red snapper. The tagine was pretty's a Morrocan clay cooker that looks kinda like a fez...if you squint really heard. The one in the picture is a Le Creuset tagine, and I think I shall put that on my Christmas list. I do need a complete set, don't I?

When we cooked with the tagine, Chef placed a bed of onions on the bottom. He added some marinaded fish filets and topped those with artichoke hearts and some diced tomatoes. He may have added a few more things, but those were the main ingredients. He added a little fish stock, covered it with the lid and popped it in the oven to steam away. It was pretty tasty for fish first thing in the morning. I think I might have been better with the whole fish for breakfast thing if we'd deep-fried some of those puppies. All hail the fish and chips!

Next, he did some fish "en papillote" or encased in parchment paper. This was my favorite dish of the day. He blanched some carrots and potatoes and then cut some large paper hearts out of parchment paper to make the "papillote" part. You butter your parchment and put down a layer of potatoes, a fish fillet (I think we used snapper), some of the blanched julienned carrots, some thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers...I know, I thought the cuke thing was weird, too, but it worked. Seal that up in the paper and let it steam in the oven. It was pretty, it tasted good, and the cucumbers were still crisp....go figure.

We also reviewed for the mid-term next week or is it Wednesday? Guess I'd better re-check my notes, don't ya think? He gave us our last two tests of which I flubbed because I could not for the life of me remember that "fond" is also "stock" and not just those browned nummy bits on the bottom of the pan. Why I couldn't remember that, I haven't a clue. It's like the brain erased it, and no amount of control-Z could undo it and get it back.

In Dining Room today, we discussed menu design and layout, because we are going to have to design a menu for each week of service, which STARTS NEXT MONDAY. No, not stressed about that at all, am I? No, not at all...

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