Saturday, February 5, 2011

Winter Farmer's Market: Marinated Flounder fillets in Ravigote Sauce

I own many cookbooks. I enjoy looking through them and I'm a sucker for good food photography. However, after buying flounder at last week's Somerville Winter Farmer's Market, I discovered that I have a dearth of flounder recipes. It is only since moving to New England that I've been cooking fish regularly, so I'm still sort of shy when it comes to substituting one fish for another in a recipe (ok, except for whitefishes). So, I turned to The Joy of Cooking which remains one of the most inspiring cookbooks of all time and does so without the use of photographs (for me, this is saying a lot).

First challenge was that the flounder is to be marinated in tarragon vinegar. No such vinegar was to be found at the store, so, I try to be resourceful:
With that out of the way (I let the tarragon sit in white wine vinegar for a couple of hours until the vinegar smelled like tarragon (+ vinegar)), I could get going on the sauce.

Ravigote Sauce is an adaptation of Velouté sauce. Usually when I see the words "double boiler" I run in the other direction. And, if that wasn't enough...the JoC calls for "mushroom shavings" in the Velouté. I must have been feeling very ambitious because peel the mushrooms (baby bellas) I did.

Ravigote Sauce (Joy of Cooking, 345)
  • 2 shallots, chopped very fine
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
  • 1 cup Velouté sauce (see below)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chervil (omitted)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped capers (subbed caperberries)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped tarragon
Cook shallots and vinegar rapidly about 3 minutes in a sauce pan, stirring constantly. Add the Velouté sauce to the shallots and simmer about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Cool to lukewarm and add all the herbs.

Velouté Sauce (Joy of Cooking, 344)
In a double boiler,
melt 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour. When blended, add gradually 2 cups stock (I used fish stock) and stir over low heat until combined and thickened. Add 1/4 cup mushroom peelings.
Simmer in double boiler for 1 hour (I used less time) stirring occasionally. Strain through a sieve and add a pinch of nutmeg and season to taste. Stir occasionally during the cooling process to prevent a crust from forming.

And then finally, there is the fish--the amazing flounder I bought from Jordan Bros. at the Farmers Market:

Marinated Flounder Fillets (Joy of Cooking, 406--paraphrased)
Marinate the fillets in the tarragon vinegar for 10 minutes
Drain and then coat with a mixture of cornmeal, flour (1:1 ratio), salt and pepper. Sauté in melted butter until golden brown (roughly 4 min. each side). Serve with sauce above.

This was quite good! A lot of work (the sauce, not the fish), but a good excuse to use up a lot of the fresh herbs I had lying around. I served it with gnocchi tossed with white truffle oil and parmesan, and a green salad (not pictured).