Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Whisk Wednesdays—Bar à la Normande (Sea Bass with Mushrooms and Cream)

Bar à la Normande (Sea Bass with Mushrooms and Cream)Here is another fish dish with a creamy and delicious sauce that marks my 200th post!

Fish Stock
The first step for this dish is to make some fish stock. We covered this in Class 10. The recipe for the stock makes 4 cups and I only needed 1 cup for the fish, so I put the remainder in the freezer for another time.

The recipe calls for a whole sea bass, however, I had some leftover pieces from earlier fish classes so I decided to use them up instead.

To cook the fish, I placed it in a roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of butter and sprinkled the fish with salt, pepper and the shallots. I poured the wine and water in and brought everything to a boil while waiting for the oven to heat up. Then, when it was boiling I covered it with buttered parchment and put it in the oven to finish cooking for about 20-30 minutes.

I love mushrooms. These are just cooked in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper while the fish cooks.

When the fish was done, I removed it from the roasting pan and set it aside while finishing the sauce. The sauce couldn't be simpler. I just strained the liquid from the roasting pan and reduced it by half. Then I added the sour cream (since I forgot to make crème fraîche the night before). I stirred this mixture until it thickened.

Crème Fraîche
To make crème fraîche, combine 1 cup (250 mL) of heavy 35-percent cream with 2 tablespoons (25 mL) sour cream in a glass container. Cover and stand at room temperature 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well, cover and refrigerate. Keeps up to 7 days.

You can watch a video, in French, of a chef making this dish. I enjoyed watching his technique.


Serves 6

Bar à la Normande (Sea Bass with Mushrooms and Cream) mise en place
Sea bass, Salmon, Sole
(I had these pieces leftover in my freezer so decided to use them up this week.)

3 pounds sea bass or striped bass
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, chopped fine
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup fish stock (or water)
1 pound mushrooms, sliced fine
1¼ cups crème fraîche

Unsalted butter, softened, for parchment paper

Fish Stock:
2 whole whiting, 8 ounces each
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
2 leeks (white part only), chopped
1 Bouquet Garni
10 peppercorns
1½ cups dry white wine
3 cups water

You can find the recipe for Bar à la Normande (Sea Bass with Mushrooms and Cream) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home. To see how the rest of the Whisk Wednesdays group fared with their recipe, click here (or check out the sidebar) and then click on each blogger!

Tasting Notes
I love fish with a sauce. And this one with mushrooms is delicious. The whole house smelled of fish, but it was worth it. The nuttiness from the mushrooms, the delicate fish and the tangy sauce were perfect.

Next Week (February 11)
Pigeonneaux en Papillote (Squab Cooked in Papillotes) pages 219-220 {Substitute salmon for squab.}
— or —
Snapper with fennel en papillote from Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cook Home Collection
— or —
Salmon and Tomatoes en Papillote from Dorie Greenspan

. . . . . . . . . .

Running total: $1,049.29 + $9.81 (fish and sauce) + $4.06 (fish stock) = $1,063.16

Butter used so far: 9 pounds, 24 tablespoons

. . . . . . . . . .
::Whisk Wednesdays::
We're cooking our way through a cooking school curriculum using the Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. The "classes" are based on the Le Cordon Bleu curriculum found online and used as a guideline. Not all the items in the curriculum are in the cookbook, but most are. Where the items are not in the book, we try to find a suitable substitution. Find out more here.
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    The Food Hunter said...

    What an awesome picture of the sea bass. I'm drooling.

    Anonymous said...

    wish i could come over for dinner... you definitely won't have any leftovers!

    Manggy said...

    Hey, happy blog milestone!! Hoping for many more years of W:aFB :) That looks soooo good. I'm glad the sauce didn't split because of the substitution of sour cream!

    Maria said...

    What a lovely dinner!! I love seafood!! Great photos as well!

    Michelle said...

    Your photos are always so gorgeous! I loved this sauce too...just delicious!

    NKP said...

    I love that green bowl!
    Happy 200, my friend! Delicious looking dinner - I really like that you show the different fish together too.

    Jessica said...

    Shari - it looks lovely! Congrats on your 200th post - I've enjoyed so many.

    Anonymous said...

    I love to cook fish, and this sounds really good. Which fish did you like best?

    Anonymous said...

    AND that looks divine!



    Angela Yeung and Søren Madsen said...

    Hi! how far along in your LCB cook book now? I'm kinda blogging on LCB cooking too. (it's a kinda complicated story..) I visited a cuisine and pastry class in LCB in Paris, and that was amazing!

    Anonymous said...

    Absolutely delicious! Fish, mushrooms and cream are such nice partners.

    CookiePie said...

    YUM - that fish looks so fantastic!

    Anonymous said...

    Shari that looks delicious. I can't wait to start cooking your group.

    Anonymous said...

    That really looks delicious Shari! Awesome pics!

    Anonymous said...

    I have some sad, lonely fish stock in the freezer and had no idea what to do with it. No more!

    pam said...

    Happy 200th post! And a wonderful post it is!

    Melissa said...

    Oh yours is so beautiful! And what a capture of the sauce pouring. That is great!

    Nancy/n.o.e said...

    I think I'd have to have a bit of each type of fish. Yum!

    Sara said...

    This looks amazing - I'm trying to cook fish more often, so I'm always looking for new recipes.

    Anonymous said...

    Shari! This is gorgeous! I can't wait to fix it! I doubt I can get sea bass, but I'm thinking rockfish will sub nicely. I have a big, thick fillet that will stand up to oven roasting. Perfectly lovely dear!

    Anonymous said...

    You and me need to meet sometime, I will bring cupcakes and you can just go on doing what you do! Droooling right here!

    You're amazing ^_^

    natalia said...

    It must have been delicious !! Congratulazioni !

    Anonymous said...

    Congrats on your 200th post!!! and what a yummy post it is. I just love fish. The sea bass looks amazing!

    Irene said...

    Oh, this looks amazing!!!

    Anonymous said...

    Sounds like an elaborate dish with high payoff. The end result looks amazing.

    Jessica said...

    I had to sub cod, but my husband loved it. The cream sauce came together nicely.

    S said...

    sea bass is my fave fish. wish i could find time to participate in whisk wednesdays, it's such a wonderful idea. happy blog milestone! really love your blog.