Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 45-46

Day 45 was spent practicing fish butchery and also roasting some duck.  We butchered Tilapia and prepared it a la meuniere [mun yair], which is a classic method where the fish is dredged in flour and sauteed in clarified butter or oil and then topped with fresh lemon juice and some chopped parsley. Next you pour hot brown butter over the fish and when the butter hits the lemon juice it creates a froth. 

As for the duck, we pan-seared the leg and thigh (hind parts) in a skillet and then finished it in the oven. After searing the duck we cooked off some onions and carrots in the rendered duck fat and then roasted them along with the duck in the oven. The final dish was served with glazed turnips and a pan sauce made from the skillet drippings. Delish!

Day 46 was also filled with fish preparation. We butchered a salmon and poached a fillet and then we also butchered more tilapia and cooked it en papillote [on poppy-yote] or "in paper". The salmon was poached in a court bouillon which is a simmering mixture of white wine, water, and aromatics. In order to properly poach fish you must ensure that your poaching liquid is between 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit. A 6 oz fillet of salmon should take approximately 6-7 minutes to poach to perfection. 

When cooking fish in parchment paper you are basically creating a little steam filled pouch to cook your fillet in. You cut your parchment paper in the shape of a heart and fill it with your fish, some aromatics, seasoning, butter, and a bit of liquid (citrus juice, oil, wine, etc). You then fold over the edges and seal everything into a little pouch and then bake it until the pouch is golden brown and your fish is fully cooked. 

How do you know when your fish is DONE? 

1. The fish separates into flakes
2. If the bone is present, the flesh separates from the bone and the bone is no longer pink
3. The flesh has turned from translucent to opaque 

Remember, the biggest mistake in fish cookery is OVERCOOKING your fish. Fish has very little connective tissue and therefore cooks very quickly. 

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