Mobile Bay is fed from rivers, creeks and estuaries of our delta which is the second largest in the United States; our boarding neighbor Mississippi boasts the largest. From this bay, multitudes of fresh water fish as well as salt water seafood and shellfish are harvested daily. The recipe today is a prime example of bounty that comes from our beloved bay.
Now, a few terms used in today’s recipe:
Panéed cooking is a southern term meaning to quickly pan fry breaded meats in hot oil or butter. The favorite meats being thin pieces of veal or chicken which are dusted in flour, breadcrumbs or a mixture of both. The meat is then removed and most often served with an accompanying sauce. That lies the difference in a meunière style of cooking.
Meunière is a French technique in which meats are breaded in flour and sautéed in normally a clarified butter. The name Meunière is also used for the sauce version similar to a brown butter sauce and most always includes lemon and capers. The meats are returned to the pan and coated in the sauce to meld together.
Both Panéed and Meunière styles of cooking meats will create a softer crust or skin than deep-frying. Both are heavily used in the Creole kitchen.
Southern style Bordelaise is basically a warm beurre blanc butter sauce made heavily with a white wine reduction and with garlic, green onions, shallots and parsley. Like the Creole Monter au Beurre, cold butter is whisked into my version at the end creating a very loose yet velvety texture riding with the rich flavor of the wine sauce. Good for mopping up with crusty French bread.
This recipe is actually two dishes but is served together on the same plate along side a bed of rice and a vegetable of choice.
Panéed Flounder with Garlic Seafood Medley
in a delightful Bordelaise style sauce
First, lets get three key steps out of the way: having the clarified butter ready and making the reduction for the garlic-wine sauce along with prepping the vegetables will speed the recipe along.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
To make the clarified butter – Heat a skillet over low heat and melt butter. Cook until all bubbling action stops and skim the foam from the top. Pour away the clear butter at the top from the solid part left at the bottom of the pan which will be just a little bit. The clear butter is the clarified butter needed for this dish.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic toes, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1 cup sherry or white port wine
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock
For the reduction sauce, in a medium sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, add onions and garlic, reduce heat to medium and stir until onion softens, about 2 minutes. Add the two wines and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cook until liquid reduces to about 2 tablespoons, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and boil until liquid reduces to about 2/3 cup, about 30 minutes. Pour sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl pressing on the solids to release all viable liquid. Set aside sauce and discard solids.
White the butter is melting, prep the vegetables for the reduction sauce. To save time, prep the vegetables for sauteing and for the bordelaise while reducing the sauce.
4 flounder fillets, about 1/4 pound each (use grouper, snapper, tilapia or any white fish)
1/2 cup of clarified butter
salt, black pepper to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Heat the clarified butter in a large skillet on moderate heat to about 300 degrees. While the butter is heating, season the fish lightly with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the flour and shake off any excess. When butter is hot, add 2 of the fillets in the pan making sure there is good flesh to surface contact. Do not overcrowd the fish. Cook until nice and brown, no more than about 8 minutes total. Test the fish for doneness by inserting a paring knife into the thickest part about halfway into the flesh. Tilt the knife to one side to check the meat which should be flaky white yet moist if done. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Continue cooking remaining fillets. Place fillets uncovered in a warming drawer or a low oven to store until serving time.
Note: Soak the fish in milk for about an hour if desired. Soaking fish fillets in milk will certainly sweeten the flavor, but most of the time we do it to help form a good crust on the surface.
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup small artichokes, halved
Add the oil to the skillet and when hot add the mushrooms. Saute until brown on both sides and liquid is reduced from the pan. Add bell pepper and cook until about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, dry the shrimp completely and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to the skillet making sure shrimp comes in contact with the surface of the skillet, move the mushrooms and peppers around as needed. Increase the heat if needed to quickly cook the shrimp. Saute about 1 minute on each side or until bright pink. The flesh should be opaque throughout. Remove to a large bowl and keep warm in the same area with the fish.
remaining clarified butter
1 tablespoon minced shallot
6 garlic toes, minced
1 pound crabclaws (some folks call these fingers)
2 teaspoon unsalted Creole seasoning
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
reduction sauce from above
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into equal parts
Wipe out the skillet. Add remaining clarified butter and return over medium high heat. Add the shallots, minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the crab claws and sprinkle with the Creole seasoning. Toss and shake the claws around in the pan to cook evenly for about 2 minutes. Add the reduction sauce and lemon juice. Bring to a simmering boil reducing heat to low just as it starts to boil. Toss claws to meld ingredients together. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the sauce is slightly velvety in appearance. Remove from heat and with a skimmer, strain claws into the bowl with the shrimp and vegetables. Whisk the cold butter into the pan 1 tablespoon at a time until thickens a bit.
To serve: Plate the fish fillet on one side followed with spooning the shrimp, crabclaws and vegetable medley on the other. Sprinkle the green onions on top of the shrimp and claws. Top with the Bordelaise sauce. Serve with hot, crusty French bread to mop up the glorious sauce.
Pairs well with any rice dish and a steamed vegetable like asparagus. Broccoli would be great too.