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Posts Tagged ‘Sea Bream’

The second atelier for Superior Cuisine came up quickly with very little time to plan.  Once again we would make both an entrée and a main course to present to the chef.   The required technical elements were enrobing one of the main proteins in a pastry and presenting a brunoise, or small dice of vegetable, on one of the dishes.

The list of ingredients we were required to use included:

Gilted head sea bream /daurade royale

Cauliflower /chou fleur

Large spinach leaves /grandes feuilles d’épinards

Veal Tenderloin /filet de veau

Brittany artichoke /artichaut Breton

Pearl (spring) onions /botte d’oignnons nouveux

Raw beetroot /beetraves cru

Both Ingrid and I had the last position in our kitchen for presentation of the entrees, but also the first position for presentation of the mains with only 25 minutes between the two.  That meant that literally all the prep had to be done before we plated the entrée otherwise we would not be able to manage our main on time.   Chef Clergue assured us this was the best of all possible positions.  Yikes!

My entrée Sea Bream Filet & Spinach wrapped in phyllo pastry, cauliflower flan & tarragon beurre blanc with crispy spring onions.  Phyllo pastry was on the list of ingredients and being not so expert with wheat, I decided to wrap my fish in filo.  Having never used it before a little internet research ensued and amazingly there are so many videos on how to use phyllo pastry that I had an easy time overcoming any misgivings.  The main issue with phyllo is it dries out rather quickly when exposed to air so it requires a good coating of fat or butter between layers to keep it moist for baking.  The second challenge was ensuring enough moisture was wrung from the spinach so it would not make the pastry soggy.   After watching a couple videos, I was ready to give my recipe a try.

My main course – Veal Grenadin, Crisp Pancetta Rounds, Roasted Beetroot Puree and an Artichoke stuffed with Pancetta and Parsley.   As the atelier progressed, students were working on different elements of their recipes and I began to notice my classmates veal preparations were a touch more intricate than my plan to brown and roast my veal.  I decided if I was going to have a hope of impressing the chef that I would need to make a change.

How would I dress up this veal?  Roll in herbs?  A crust of some sort?  Then it struck me, the artichoke stuffing was a simple mixture of shallot, butter, lemon juice, chopped pancetta and parsley.  Why not stuff the veal instead of the artichoke?  So I did!  I quickly asked Chef Clergue for advice, should I open up the veal and then roll it and truss?  Was this the right approach?   Was there another method?

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This is the strangest recipe.  Sea bream stuffed with a prawn, olive and ginger, wrapped in lettuce leaves; served with a Jerusalem artichoke puree.  I am racking my brains to determine what the point was of this recipe, and my thought is oven poaching a “stuffed” fish filet.

The only redeeming feature of this recipe which I want to talk about is the Jerusalem artichoke puree, which I thought was a lovely alternative to potatoes.  This root vegetable does not resemble its namesake green artichoke in the least.  It is rather pink brown with all manner of roots appearing from the skin, but it is rather like a potato to cook.

  1. Peel and cube about 300 to 500 grams of Jerusalem artichokes for 4 persons.   Place in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, add about 2 to 3 tsp. of salt.  Let them cook until they are easily pierced with a paring knife.
  3. In the mean time, gently heat about 100 ml of cream.
  4. When the artichokes are cooked, drain them and place them back in the original pot.
  5. Put them back on the stove for a few minutes to dry them out, and then place them in a food processor along with a knob of butter.
  6. Once they are pureed and with the food processor running pour in the cream a little at a time.  Check the consistency does not get too runny.
  7. Remove from the food processor and check the seasoning and adjust for salt and pepper.
  8.  If it still has remaining lumps pass through a drum sieve or “tamis”.
  9. Place the puree into a clean pot and cover the pot with plastic wrap. Place the pot in a bain marie to keep warm while you prepare your protein for your main course.

This lovely puree would pair well with seafood such as scallops, white fish and white meat.

Oh the fish – well – I fileted the sea bream, made a fumet which had a more tomato ginger base, created a prawn stuffing (prawns, olives, ginger, and shallots) and wrapped it in blanched lettuce leaves.  This fish recipe was quite boring for the amount of work it was and, as our practical chef did not show up, my plate sat getting cold for 30 min while one chef worked double duty in two kitchens.  I plated first and mine was tasted last – I left not impressed with the dish or the practical.  Grrrr….

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