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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Blanc Braisé d'Opah et Chanterelle avec garniture d'escargot, légumes tourne et des fleurs de la saison
White Braised Moonfish and Chanterelle Mushrooms with a garnish of escargot, turned vegetables and flowers of the season! Very Vegas!
It has been a while since I have posted a braised recipe in my blog. Usually when people think of braising, the only thing that comes to mind is braising tough cuts of lamb, beef, pork or veal. Braising is a technique that can be applied to seafood and poultry too.
Braising does not require a certain amount of cooking time. The object is to only cook the meat until it becomes tender! Braising fish or seafood requires less braising time than short ribs or lamb shanks. Easy quick sauteed and pan braised seafood entrees require only about ten minutes of cooking time. On the other hand, a seafood recipe that is traditionally braised requires about 20 to 45 minutes of cooking time. The oven temperature for seafood braising should be the same temperature that is required for slow roasting.
Tough large shellfish, large clams, large tough squid and large octopus all can benefit from traditional braising methods. These items can be sliced thin and then cooked quickly and the meat will be fairly tender, but because these seafood items are large, the meat will still be somewhat tough. Smaller size seafood is usually cooked quickly and it will remain tender.
Older seafood chefs and home cooks know that braising larger and tougher squid, octopus, clams and shellfish is a way to tenderize the meat. All the nutritious juices are captured by the braising sauce. For large tough seafood, braising works like stewing. The tough fibers of the meat are gently broken down and the seafood becomes tender!
Choice fish can be braised to create a rich savory entree. The thicker the cut of fish, the easier it is to braise. Thin filets tend to fall apart when braised. Thicker cuts of fish or a fish with a firm flesh are much easier to braise.
Whole fish and whole eel can be easily braised. About 50 to 100 years ago, braised whole fish or eel was a popular item in classic French cooking. Usually the whole fish was served in the same decorative copper pan that it was braised in. At the table side, the whole braised fish in the pan, the sauce and the other ingredients were placed to the customer's plate by a captain or maitre d' just like how sauteed dover sole meuniere is formally served. The carcass was discarded and only the prime boneless meat was set on the customers plate. A highly skilled waitstaff is required for table service of whole fish or eel!
Many people picture braising as a technique that always takes a long time. As I mentioned earlier in this blog entry, the cooking time and temperature can be adjusted, so that the braising technique can be applied to fish. Tough meat requires a long braising time. Tender meat requires the braising time to be much shorter.
At the market today, I saw some nice looking opah. Opah is known as moonfish. Opah is a large deep water fish that is similar to sailfish meat in color. The meat of opah is a pale pinkish red color that turns white after cooking. Opah meat is fairly dense, but because of the shape of opah, the meat can be cut into thick steaks. Just by looking at the opah steak, I could see that it was the best choice of fish at the market for tonights braising recipe!
The fresh chanterelles were terribly overpriced today at the market, even though it is peak season. I chose to use dried chanterelle mushrooms in this recipe. I picked up a parsnip to add flavor to the simple white braising sauce. The market had fresh edible seasonal flowers and I thought that flowers might add a bright pretty look to this braised recipe. I have used edible flowers in the past like spices, so I chose flowers that would add an appealing flavor to this braised fish recipe.
Since this is an old school French style braised fish recipe, I chose to use French escargot as part of the garnish. When I first started cooking, some of the older French chefs did garnish some seafood entrees with a few escargot! Escargot garnishes have long since gone out of fashion. The heyday of using escargot as an accompanying garnish was well over 60 years ago!
Put it all together and this braised fish recipe qualifies for a "Good Old Days" menu theme at a Florida yacht club! "Good Old Days" night features forgotten favorite classic recipes of the past. This braised fish recipe could also be part of the current trend of creative comfortable braised fish entrees. "Post fusion French comfort cuisine" is what we were calling this trend ten years ago.
This recipe is my own creation, but entrees like this were popular 20 to 30 years before I started cooking. If you are nostalgic or or if you are interested in modern creative braising cuisine, then this recipe will be quite appealing!
For fresh autumn chanterelles, trim and cut the chanterelles, so they are no taller than the thickness of the opah steak.
For dried chanterelles, place a small handful of dried chanterelles into a bowl.
Cover the chanterelles with water.
Soak the chanterelles in a refrigerator, till they fully reconstitute.
Reserve the soaking liquid and trim the chanterelles so they are no taller than the thickness of the opah steak.
Set the soaking liquid and chanterelles aside.
Either 4 fresh French escargot in the shell or 4 canned French escargot that are sold with the shells in a separate container can be used for the garnish. For the canned escargot, place 1 snail into each shell.
Place 4 pats of unsalted butter in a small bowl.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste.
Add 1 teaspoon of very finely minced parsley.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Mix the ingredients together.
Wash and wipe the shells of the 4 French escargot.
Place 1/4 of the butter mixture into each shell on the snail meat.
Place a 1/2" layer of rock salt in a small casserole dish.
Place the escargot shells on the rock salt with the shell openings facing up. Press the shells into the rock salt, so they don't roll over while handling the dish.
Chill the escargot in a refrigerator, till later in the recipe.
Blanc Braised Opah and Chanterelles Recipe:
Select an opah filet steak that is 1" to 1 1/2" thick. The steak should be 2 1/2" to 3" wide and 10" to 12" in length. A full opah steak should weigh about 10 to 12 ounces.
Trim the skin off of the edge of the opah steak.
Cut the opah steak into 4 equal size pieces.
Season with sea salt.
Heat a braising pan over medium heat.
Add 5 to 6 pats of unsalted plugra butter.
When the butter becomes hot, place the opah steak pieces in the pan.
Sear the opah on both sides lightly, so the surfaces ate very lightly browned. The meat should sill be very rare inside.
Remove the opah steak pieces from the pan.
Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped shallot.
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Saute till the shallots turn clear, but not browned at all.
Add a little bit of flour at a time, while whisking, till the butter is absorbed by the four.
Stir and cook the pan roux for about one minute, till it turns a golden white color.
Add 1 cup of dry white wine while whisking.
Whisk till the roux combines with the wine and the mixture becomes smooth.
Add 3 cups of light fish stock while whisking.
Stir the sauce as it heats and thickens.
When the sauce begins to simmer, add 1/2 cup of cream.
Stir the sauce till it comes to a gentle boil.
Add 3/4 cup of the chanterelle soaking liquid.
Add the chanterelles.
Stir the sauce as is reduces to a thin sauce consistency. The amount of thin sauce in the brazing pan should be enough to cover the chanterelles and opah.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Add 1 bay leaf.
Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
Add 1 small pinch of tarragon.
Return the seared opah steak pieces to the sauce.
Add a 4 inch long peeled thick parsnip that is cut in half lengthwise.
Cover the brazing pan with a loose fitting lid.
Place the brazing pan in a 325 degree oven.
Braise the opah in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes.
Carefully use a spatula to flip each piece of opah after 10 minutes of braising.
Gently shake the brazing pan, once every ten minutes.
While the opah is braising the garnishes can be prepared.
Baking the Escargot Garnish:
Place the escargot and casserole dish into the 325 degree oven, when the opah has ten minutes left to cook.
When the escargot butter sizzles in the shells, then the escargot are ready.
Set the escargot on a stove top and keep them warm.
Tourne glacage vegetable garnish:
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
Add 2 or 3 each of tourne cut potato, carrot, parsnip and turnip.
Saute till the vegetables become golden colored on the edges.
Add a splash of water.
Add a splash of dry white wine.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Add 1 tiny pinch of ground celery seed.
Add 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Reduce the temperature to medium/medium low heat.
Stir the vegetables in the liquid occasionally as it reduces to a syrup.
Allow the sugar syrup to caramelize to a light golden color.
Add a small splash of wine.
Toss the vegetables in the sauce.
Keep the vegetables warm over very low heat on a stove top.
Assembly and Garnishing:
When the opah is done brazing, remove the pan from the oven.
Remove the parsnip pieces and discard them.
Carefully and gently use a spatula to set the braised opah pieces on a dish.
Set the dish on a stove top and keep the fish warm.
Place the brazing pan over medium high heat.
Add a splash of dry white wine.
Reduce the sauce till it become a thin sauce consistency.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Remove the bay leaf from the sauce.
Place the 4 braised pieces of opah across the center of a serving platter.
Use tongs to remove the chanterelles from the sauce and place the chanterelles against the sides of the opah steak pieces.
Spoon some of the sauce over the opah steak pieces.
Spoon the sauce onto the platter around the opah.
Place the 2 escargot on each side of the opah steak pieces.
Place a tourne vegetable between each pair of escargot.
Place the remaining tourne vegetables around the border of the platter on the sauce.
Sprinkle a pinch of finely chopped Italian parsly over the braised opah pieces.
Sprinkle some marigold variety flower petals, nasturtium flower petals and pansy flower petals over the pieces of braised opah.
Garnish the center two opah pieces with 2 pink snap dragon flowers.
Delicious! This is a very rich, savory and pretty plate of braised opah! Chanterelles have a nice forest and forest flower kind of flavor that is perfect for the flavor of opah. Opah has a nice rich flavor that is like a combination of lotte and swordfish.
The choice of flower petals adds mild sweet, tart, peppery, bitter and spicy flavors as well as pretty colors. The lightly caramelized vegetables give relief to the savory brazing sauce. The escargot garnish adds an old fashioned style to the platter. The garlic flavor of the escargot compliments the flavors of the braising sauce.
This braised opah creation turned out to be a very nice dinner entree! Yummy! ... Shawna