Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Souffle de Poisson

We have a freezer full of Spanish Mackerel and Nick asked me to do something different with it.  I asked Julia what I should do with it, and this is what I found.  I'd been reluctant to try it because I've always had such terrible luck with meringue and other whipped egg whites, but Nick wanted something different and not only have I never made a souffle for him or anyone else, but neither of us has ever been served one.

I'm gonna deviate from my usual strategy of giving you a working overview of the recipe, because the original was a (necessary) 8 pages.  Instead, I'll just skim over the steps.  If you want to make it, Go get the book already!

 Get a 6c souffle dish, butter it and sprinkle it with grated cheese.  

Grind half of a pound of fish and set aside.  Poach a half a pound of fish in a dry white wine.  Simmerdown the cooking juice and set aside.  

Make a hollandaise sauce of sorts, using the reserved fish wine in place of the lemon juice.  (Sauce Mousseline Sabayon)

Make "souffle sauce" using a rue, warm milk, ground fish & egg yolks.

Beat egg whites with a little salt and cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks.  

Fold in a small portion of the egg whites with a handful of grated swiss cheese.  Then fold in the remainder of egg whites, being careful not to over-mix. Layer 1/3 of souffle, 1/2 poached fish, souffle, fish, souffle then sprinkle with cheese.   

Place in 400 degree oven and immediately turn down to 375 and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and a knife inserted comes out clean.  

Pray it doesn't fall, and enjoy!

We topped both the souffle and zucchini with the sauce.  The souffle was crusty and fluffy and tasty (despite the whole fish & cheese thing) and not quite as overwhelmingly rich as other Julia Child recipes, but more filling than it first seems when you're eating it.  Kinda reminded me of a quiche, flavor-wise tho.  

Of course, as you dig into it it will fall.  Its fallenness made me feel better that it had risen properly.  

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