Today was one of those rare days where waking up at 7:00 A.M. on a Saturday (with a caipirinha headache – thanks Michael & Enrique!) and trekking across town to Le Cordon Bleu for a full day of demonstrations and practicals, was totally worthwhile. This little red fish recipe with rouget and crispy potato scales, was so pretty and delicious that all my morning moans and groans drifted into delighted oooh's and aaah's. Not to mention the truffled egg starter with basil potatoes or the tropical fruit dessert with freshly baked gingerbread and homemade coconut milk sorbet. Yummmm-y!
Our superior cuisine chef knew that none of us were going to be too thrilled about an early morning Saturday class. He cleverly started off with homemade gingerbread for the dessert and baked extra to pass around for us to nibble on during the three hour demo. Just the scent of baking cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg transformed our grumpy sleep deprived class into a happily spice intoxicated bunch. Aromatherapy works.
The fish recipe, Filets de Rouget en Écailles de Pommes de Terres Croustillantes et Flan de Brocolis or Red Mullet Fillets with Crispy Potato Scales and Broccoli Flan, is simplistically beautiful and delicious. I absolutely adore rouget or red mullet for it's striking red flecked skin and delicate fillets. The crispy potato scales that cover it give texture and compliment the rouget's slight fishy taste. The sauce, an orange juice reduction with butter and white wine, added an irresistible summertime seaside feel. Hard not to envision eating this dish somewhere on the Cote d'Azur at a trendy open air cafe or bistro.
I find that broccoli can be difficult to get creative with. Overcooked it looses it's bright green magpie appeal and becomes a two year-old's nightmare. This flan, made with eggs and cream, brought out the best qualities in the cruciferous tree. The cream & eggs helps to sweeten the vegetable while the fat of both ingredients also heightens the silky smooth consistency. A little salt, pepper, and numetg et voila! Perfection!
As simple as this recipe looks, it is not easy to cook. My potato scales slid off my fish while frying as did many other's in my group and no one could figure out why. The pics above are done by a professional – our superior cuisine chef – who makes everything look easy. I wish I could lay claim to them, but not in this case. The sauce if done incorrectly separates (mine was delicious – halleluja for that!) and the flan if not baked right will get stuck in it's mold or worse, have browned edges. Again, my flan was super yummy...but my little red poisson, my beautiful fish lost it's crispy scales!!! Better luck next time...