Rewind to Class 19 – Saumon au Champagne

1 01 2009

I’m about a month behind with this dish.  I think I was in the middle of the GLAD event when everyone else was poaching salmon.  We’re working on different cooking techniques now.  We’ve learned about cutting vegetables, making stocks, mastering basic sauces, and now it’s time to experience several cooking techniques.  We’ve cooked food in hot oil; we’ve braised; we’ve cooked with dry heat, and we’ve been poaching.  We learned to poach eggs and chicken, now it’s time to poach fish.

Salmon is a popular fish.  It comes out nicely with most cooking techniques.  It broils and grills well, smokes very nicely, and poaches like a dream.  Salmon is a bit heavy in flavor for use in stock or broth though.  Don’t plan to use odds and ends from this dish for those purposes.

Working from a recipe from Le Cordon Bleu at Home, our task was to poach a white fish for fish stock…  I confess. This was not going to happen for me.  When I picked up my fresh ingredients, there was nary a fish to be had.  In fact, I watched the last one leave the meat counter as I approached, thinking surely that wasn’t the last one!  Oh, yes it was.  I ended up buying a box of fish stock.  That pretty much shot the first 75% of the recipe.  Even though the box stated their stock was made with vegetables, I poached a bouquet garni in the broth while it heated.


I used a casserole dish that I thought was large enough for the salmon fillets, but it was really a tight fit.  I buttered it, and set the oven temp.  I spread the shallots in the bottom of the buttered dish, lay in the fillets, and added the cooking liquid combination of stock and water.


Our book suggested serving this dish with turned potatoes.  This was my second attempt at the technique of tourné.   I quartered red potatoes and worked them over.  I wouldn’t say I have this mastered, but I think I’m starting to get the idea of how to do it.


Here we are at the half-way point.
I needed to pull the fillets out and change their positions at midway because my dish was too small.  This resulted in slightly over cooked areas on the fish.   The fish was slightly underdone when I took it from the oven.  I strained the cooking liquid and set the fish aside, covered with parchment and a towel, to continue cooking.

Here’s my sauce at the liquid stage…it’s a broth with a lot of teeny-tiny particles of flavor bustling about getting ready to meld into a creamy sauce.  I mixed my egg and cream and ladled some of the roux thickened sauce into the mixture to temper the eggs and cream (we don’t want scrambled-egg sauce), then poured the tempered mixture into the hot sauce.  Look what we got!


The salmon was wonderful…light, and silky in texture, just like the sauce.  I don’t know why they suggest these potatoes…they’re so PALE!  I had to add parsley.   You get a closer shot of the turned potatoes here too.  Like I said, I still have a lot of work to do to master this technique!

The verdict?  I have a confession.  I don’t like salmon.  There are a couple of ways I like it (raw, as sushi is my favorite), but not very many.   I never order salmon, because I know I won’t care for it.  With one exception…there was a place in Pasadena, CA that made THE BEST lacquered salmon, and it was heavenly!  This wasn’t my cup of tea.  I was able to eat about half of it, before the salmon flavor overwhelmed me.  Mr. Green Jeans didn’t mind a bit.  He happily polished off my remaining portion.

I almost forgot…this was about the time everyone offered to share their sinks of dishes following prep…
The butter dish is not an error…it went sailing…  I bumped something with my elbow which struck my little butter server, knocking it to the floor….where it was saved by falling into the dog’s water dish.  Yes, I had to mop the floor.  But…I didn’t have to clean up butter too!

The next dish up in order is a whole poached “salmon-trout” with an herbed mayonnaise.  I’ll catch this one as fish becomes available.  Where I live, “salmon-trout” are called Steelhead, and they’re a sport fish…the BIGGER the BETTER!  It will be a challenge to acquire an appropriate sized specimen.  The next class on the calendar is roasted duckling…which is currently in residence in our freezer, waiting.  Happy Whisking!




2 responses

8 01 2009

That sauce looks perfect! As do your turned potatoes. Boy, that’s a tough skill to master! Good for you for making salmon when you know you don’t like it. And your sink looks so similar to mine at the end of LCB@H cooking session.

7 01 2009

Your finished dish looks so good….and I am like you, I like salmon about half the time, or half the amount! Sometimes I just love it and then I go for months and do not want to even smell it cooking. I am not sure what all that is about. Your turned potatoes are getting really good! They look so nice…great job. Thanks for the giggle about your sink of dishes…it sure makes it fun each time now to think that ALL our kitchens are looking like this! I think you win the award for most inventive and creative in getting the show on the road with this meal! I love all your little subs…just goes to show it can be done!

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