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  1. Pan Seared Cod with a Mushroom Fish Velouté Enhanced with White Wine Wild caught cod was on sale at the market and I decided to take this meal uptown and someplace special. The cod was seasoned and pan seared. As a sauce for the fish, I prepared a fish velouté with a white wine addition plus chopped sautéed mushrooms enhanced with egg yolk and whole milk (in place of cream) --- effectively a Sauce Normade with a wine component. It was served with “stewed” eggplant and some potato salad Mrs. Smokehowze had prepared. The Sauce The Fish Velouté was 2 oz of butter, 2 oz of flour and a quart of quality seafood stock. Use the butter and flour to prepare a light blond roux. Slowly add fish stock and cook at low simmer to reduce for about 30 minutes whisking often to develop as smooth sauce. I added a teaspoon of HonDashi granules to further perk up the fish flavor element in the veloute. Season simply with a pinch of salt and a generous measure of ground white pepper. Next I added about ½ cup of a white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc as it was handy and already opened) and cooked for 10 minutes at low simmer to reduce and blend/develop flavors. 16 oz of mushroom were diced and sautéed in a small amount of butter until almost all the liquid was removed from the mushrooms. The pan was deglazed with some white wine and the mushrooms and pan jus was added to the velouté. ½ cup of whole milk and 3 egg yolks were whisked and allowed to come to room temperature. The egg mixture was tempered by slowly adding several ladles of the velouté to the eggs and whisking to warm the egg mixture and avoid curdling the eggs. The tempered mix was then slowly folded into the velouté and brought back to heat with a gentle simmer and allowed to develop flavors and thicken for about 5-10 minutes –whisking occasionally to fully incorporate. This rich “Normande sauce” variant had an amazing flavor and it was difficult to stop going back for “tastings”. For a garnish for the fish and sauce, I sliced several mushrooms and quickly browned them in a minimal amount of olive oil. Stewed Eggplant Two eggplants (one large and one medium) were peeled and diced. I sweated the Cajun trinity along with some chopped mushrooms, green onion, minced garlic and chopped parsley, dried thyme, some Emeril’s Essence, salt and black pepper, splashes of Worcestershire, a few dashes of Tabasco and a pinch of sugar. Then add the eggplant and cook for 30-40 minutes on medium low heat covered until the eggplant is tender. Stir as needed to keep from sticking and burning. The approach here is a flavorful dish that is not highly seasoned to avoid overpowering the fish course. BTW..I often make the same stewed eggplant in a much more seasoned version adding chopped tomatoes and shrimp or seasoned sausage for a heavier side dish. The Fish The cod was rinsed and patted dry and seasoned with Emeril’s Essence . I chose to pan sear the fish as I I wanted some flavor on the fish (as opposed to just poaching it) to build a layer of flavors with the fish and the sauce. Pan sear in a well heated but not smoking skillet the cod in a swirl of olive oil - cooking the fish to the just flaking stage turning once. Do not overcook the fish. You do however want a nice high heat seared effect on the fish with a good toasting of the seasoning on the fish to bring out the flavors in the Essence. The Potato Salad The interesting thing on the potato salad was the dressing. It was half Greek Yoghurt and half mayonnaise along with Dijon mustard. After coating the potatoes and gently mixing cider vinegar was also added to taste. Quite a nice potato salad created by Mrs. Smokehowze. Not as heavy as the typical all mayo version and less calories, too. Plating As the stewed eggplant should have a good moisture component when properly prepared, it was served in its own dish. The seared fish filets were arranged and generously coated with the fish/wine/mushroom (aka wine Normande) sauce and then garnished with the toasted mushroom slices and chopped parsley. Add the potato salad and some sliced cucumbers that were tossed with cider vinegar and you have a meal. Like I said, an “uptown meal”. The stars in this cook were definitely the fish and the sauce. It was an outstanding combination and well worth the effort. The layering of flavors of the seasoned fish and the rich sauce was quite complementary and made you just want to go back for seconds and definitely reach for additional spoonfuls of sauce during the meal. Be sure to have extra sauce available to satisfy the craving. Enjoy!
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