Wednesday, May 23, 2012

French cooking at home

fish fillets with rosemary
striped sea bass for dinner
This weekend, our friend Roy came over to cook us a fancy dinner. Roy's our friend who's in French culinary school and who told me enrolled simply because he loves food. Isn't that the best reason? :) He fixed up a really great fish dish called poisson en papillote served over a mushroom duxelles and tomato fondue with a side of rice pilaf. I had no idea what any of it was, so it was fun hanging out in the kitchen watching him cook.

how to fillet a fish
 The fish was a striped sea bass which he brought over whole and filleted himself. I was so impressed.

brunoise carrots
Roy says French cooking is all about being precise and meticulous. And it's true—to prepare the veggies for the rice pilaf, he first cut the carrots and zucchini into large symmetrical rectangles, then cut that into large strips, then julienned each of those strips and then cut each one of those into tiny rectangles. Can you imagine having to cut all your vegetables like that? One of the chefs at Roy's school says the hardest thing you have to overcome in your cooking career is overcoming your inner laziness. 

julienned zucchini
When chopping, Roy says you should always place your hand right next to the knife so your hand looks like a claw with your thumb and pinky fingers pulled back. This way you'll always know where your hand is at all times.

sizzling butter
An interesting thing about French cooking that Roy says is a big misconception is that there's tons of butter in everything when really there's a lot of variety. For example, he described the fish dish he was making for us as "healthy + flavor = WTF" which really had me curious.

tomato fondue with thyme
 The savory, garlicky tomato fondue was my favorite part.

poisson en papillote
Everything cooked in a parchment-paper pouch which reminded me of a calzone.

inside poisson en papillote
The fish cooked super quick (it was in the oven for just 7 minutes!) and when we cut open the parchment paper, the fish was perfectly tender and flaky. Each bite of fish was complemented perfectly by the mushrooms and tomatoes and those meticulously julienned veggies. Definitely healthy + flavor = WTF.

1 comment:

Tee, Passports and Postcards said...

This looks great! I've been wanting to eat/cook more fish and this looks like a good way to start.

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