Monday, July 14, 2008

Almost French

Four simple courses, starting with the cheese above. For reasons mentioned in the last post, there will likely be more brie in my future. The wine is from the Market Avenue Wine Bar (50% off takeaway wines), which is sadly moving (closing?) in the near future. A biodynamic Cotes du Rhone winds up being about $16--not bad for a decent bottle. The bread source, unfortunately, is not worth mentioning.
Above is a classic vichyssoise (French or not), cooling in a sink half filled with water and ice packs. I followed a Julia Child recipe, available here. Basically it was just boiled leek whites and peeled potatoes pureed in a blender. I thinned with chicken stock from Souper Market, a local mini-chain of soup shops. They've got it to go fresh or frozen. While it may not have been the best stock in the history of stocks, it was definitely serviceable and beats boiling bones in 90+ weather (others around here have been braver). After blending I added just a bit of creme fraiche (maybe a tablespoon for four decent sized potatoes worth of soup) and seasoned aggressively with salt and pepper. Topped with some fresh chives it was perfect for the summer. Reaction from co-diner after tasting: "What kind of cream soup is this?" It took some explaining.
The fish course was meant to be sole meuniere made with whatever looked good at Kate's (see their writeup here, while it's available). Flounder seemed appropriate. Tom the fishmonger suggested cooking it Charleston style (is there really such a thing?), meaning hatched and cooked whole. I gave it a shot, first seasoning the whole headed and gutted fish with salt and pepper and then dipping it in flour before pan frying in a mix of butter and canola oil. After it was browned it went for a quick trip in a hot oven to cook through.

After it was cooked and resting I wiped out the pan and melted some butter with lemon juice and parsley. The fish was taken off the bone at the table and served with a wedge of lemon and some zucchini batons that were sauteed in butter with salt and pepper.
And finally, garden salad greens with fresh local blueberries. The vinaigrette is Dijon mustard, shallot, cider vinegar, honey (it's the year of the honey bee after all), olive oil, and salt and pepper. While I nearly always whisk a vinaigrette or shake it up in a closed jar, I did this one in a food processor and was pleased with the emulsion--it was even worth having to clean the processor. Next time I'll puree the blueberries with the vinaigrette, as the plump berries on the lettuce leaves were tasty, but a bit awkward.

Now, to learn desserts . . . .


OhioMom said...

The fish looks really good, I will have to try this .. lovely meal :)

Thomas said...

thats how had it while I was in Charleston SC.
Fish was caught right off of Floridas coast, should have been really good.

The CFT said...

Thanks OHMom. I miss being able to catch the flat fish of my youth, but it's good to know they're available around here.

Tom, it was good. Even though I had a healthy skepticism, both the guest and I enjoyed the fish very much.

S for Kitchen Confit said...

I too was in a vichyssoise mood recently!