Sunday, 29 May 2011

Nearly done. Overdone.

This past week we continued applying the numerous classic techniques learnt over the last three months to various forms of seafood.

We began by cooking some pan seared crispy skinned trout:

Filets de Truite Meuniere aux Amandes

Pan-Fried Fillets of Trout with Almond Beurre Noisette and Hollandaise

Being a die-hard saltwater fisherman and not having the patience to fly fish for trout meant that this trout was the first I ever tasted. I've heard some people call the flavour muddy and I've never met anyone who was overly enamored with trout, so it was with trepidation I set about filleting my fish. Very quickly upon taking one side off I started noticing some similarities between trout and salmon, I didn't expect the flesh to be orangey-pink or for the skin to be the same fatty texture and taste as salmon. Overall I was happy with my trout and came to the conclusion that it is indeed a muddier inferior version of salmon, inferior but still very nice. I also whipped up my first hollandaise in the kitchen that day which was quite successful, and was a dream combination with the trout. Eggs Bene here I come!...

The next day we cooked the classic French dish 'Moules Marinieres,' mussels stewed in white wine with parsley. It was simple and delicious, apart from the quality of the UK mussels (tiny and inferior to our huge by comparison green-lipped mussels from NZ) it was good to learn the secret to finishing the plate the French way: with a mountain of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley. We also cooked and prepared a very large, very much alive Dungeness crab. After dispatching and cooking the crab in a court bouillon we extracted all the white and brown meat, cleaned out the shell and layered the meat in with various garnishes.

My phone had died that day so here's an example of our crab dish, this one was done by a classmate:

Crabe Farci a l'Anglaise

Dressed Crab

Moving on from the seafood at the end of the week we grilled some fillet steak to go with some sauce bearnaise (similar to hollandaise, some differences namely the addition of some herbs, the dominant one being tarragon) and pont-neuf (deep fried) potatoes. I didn't even mind coming in to school at 6pm on a Friday to cook because it meant a beautiful steak for dinner.

Fillet de boeuf grille, sauce bearnaise, pommes pont-neuf

I also managed a practice run-through on my exam dish which is in a week, the day is getting nearer and nearer and I'm starting to get a bit nervous.

Chicken Fricassee with Glazed Vege

This time around my piece of breast meat was overdone but my drumstick was perfect, it's a tight balance trying to get the white and dark meat evenly cooked in a braise. My sauce was again too creamy, and some of the vege got burnt but that was my sous chefs mistake, I was on meat/sauce duty. So again, I have some things to work on before the exam. I'm doing a full run through on Wednesday cooking for the lady I live with, her daughter and her daughters boyfriend. 

Four perfect plates, two hours maximum, can I do it?.. Find out in a day or two.


  1. The crab looks amazing, what are all the strips of? I can see olives. What is in the shells?

  2. Finely sliced lettuce into strips, petals of tomato in the shells. Strips are brown crab meat, white crab meat, egg yolk, parsley, tomato.