Poached dorade (sea bream) with lavender-lemon sauce, side of pan sautéed ratatouille
|August 20, 2010||Posted by ameliaps under challenge, fish, vegetables|
Robin gave me a “recipe challenge” (see pre-holiday post).
She wrote: “Hi Amelia – My favorite restaurant dish ever was in a fabulous restaurant in Provence. It was dorade (white fish you can’t get here) with a lavender cream sauce, served with the most amazing ratatouille I have ever had in my life. I have never been able to find ratatouille that comes close in the states, and lavender sauce — forget about it! If anyone can do it, you can!”
I like a good challenge…so last night I tried to make Robin’s wish come true
Dorade is called gilt-head sea bream here in the US. If you can’t find it, use another white, lean, flaky fish (try haddock, sole, tilapia, snapper, halibut or cod).
Poaching is a good method to cook fish since it preserves moisture and does not require fat.
If you buy the whole fish, fill it with lemon slices and parsley before poaching.
To make the lavender sauce I used the fish poaching liquid (a basic court bouillon), flavored with lavender flowers, and turned it into a velouté (which is basically a white sauce made with stock).
As far as the ratatouille I chose to make a more dainty version, for a quick dinner, by dicing the vegetables small (sort of a vegetarian nonpareil!) and then pan sauteing them.
To serve I used a 1/4 cup measure to mold the ratatouille in a little dome topped with a basil leaf, served alongside a filet of fish covered with the sauce, topping it with a few extra lavender seeds.
Robin: I hope I met your challenge!!!
Poached dorade with lavender-lemon sauce
Note: dorade is gilt-head (sea) bream
4 dorade (sea bream) fish fillets (or 2 whole ones, cleaned and scaled)
Salt and pepper
500 ml (2 cups) home made court bouillon*
1 tsp lavender flowers (plus a few more to decorate)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. plain flour
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1 lemon: 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice plus the zest
* To make the court bouillon, in a saucepan, combine 500 ml (2 cups) water, 1 celery stalk, a couple of small tomatoes, a few slices of onion, 1 chopped carrot, a few peppercorns, juice of half a lemon and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes then strain and reserve.
Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Top with lemon zest.
Place the court bouillon and lavender in a heavy saucepan and bring to boil first then turn down to a simmer. Add the seasoned fish and poach for 12-14 minutes, tented with a parchment paper round that has a whole in the middle. Remove the fish to a dish and keep warm while making the sauce.
Strain the stock into a glass jar. Melt the butter in the sauce pan and soften the shallot gently for 3 minutes. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to mix. Gradually add the stock and stir while bringing to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the cream, salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes. Add lemon juice and season to taste.
Pour the sauce over the fish and serve with ratatouille.
Quick pan sautéed ratatouille
3Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1/2 white (or red) onion, diced small
1 small eggplant, diced small
1 yellow squash, diced small
1 zucchini, diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 vine ripe tomato, diced small
1 Tbsp chopped basil
Salt and pepper, TT
Heat a large saute’ pan. Add olive oil and sauté garlic cloves for one minute or until golden, then remove them. Add onion and sauté for a minute or two. Add eggplant, squash, zucchini, and bell pepper and saute’ for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and basil. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.