Sunday, May 11, 2008


We had an interesting class that was completely unstructured. The recipe for the night, Filet de Limande à votre façon (Filet of Flounder however we wanted to cook it). Chef instructed us a few classes back that on this night we will have to fillet a flounder, prepare it our own way, with an accompanying vegetable and starch and a canapé to go with the dish.

The kitchen had all the usual ingredients at our disposal, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, rice, spices and herbs. This was a good challenge for all of us and it allowed each student to make something that reflected their talent, vision and style.

I stressed about what to make for days. I decided to use one of the fillets to make a fish cake for my canapé. A few days before class, I bought some flounder fillets to practice recipes. My fish cake fell apart as I sautéed it so I researched other recipes. For my main entrée I decided to make a butter/white wine/lime juice braised flounder wrapped in a spiral with a beurre blanc sauce that had the essence of lime. I made a gorgeous potato gratin with gruyère cheese and simple haricot verts almondine.

The time flew by that night, I was racing to make everything. Marcella and I prepared a fish stock from the flounder bones to use in our sauces. The fish itself cooks in 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven so I was very careful not to overcook this very delicate fish. Down to the wire my potatoes were done and were kept warm, my haricot verts were cooked and shocked to keep their color. At the last minute I sautéed them with some toasted almonds. I made my sauce last since it was the most delicate of all the components of the dish. The beurre blanc was velvety and just plated so beautifully. Chef critiqued all of our dishes and our presentation styles. His main issue with my dish was that it was too rich! The creamy potatoes, the loaded-with-butter sauce and the butter-braised fish were too much for Chef’s cholesterol. He asked me rhetorically what was for dessert, I retorted – a heart attack.

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