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What Manton Learned at Culinary School Today - Page 26

post #376 of 618
Originally Posted by kwilkinson View Post
What's the school? Pm if you like.

BTW, cleaning your own pots and pans is really not a big deal at all. When we're all done cooking, it takes us 30 minutes to do the entire cleaning.

where do you keep getting those avatar pics? Do you shoot em yourself?
post #377 of 618
Originally Posted by blackplatano View Post
where do you keep getting those avatar pics? Do you shoot em yourself?

I wish! There's a food pr0n site called . It's pretty cool, just tons of pictures people send in.
post #378 of 618
Originally Posted by kwilkinson View Post
We actually never butchered a fish completely, so I envy you for that. We never had to scale or de-gut a fish. Ours came cleaned and we just had to filet them.

This is pretty funny. Not that long ago, every kid in America knew how to catch and clean a fish. Then he would have cooked it the only way anyone knew how - he fried it in butter with salt, pepper, and maybe a bit of flour.

Now you go to school and learn how to cut vegetables in all kinds of fancy ways and 100 ways to prepare that fish but if someone handed you a flopping fish on the end of a hook you wouldn't know what to do with it.

How times have changed.

I don't mean it derogatorily towards you, Kyle... I can't clean a fish either. It's just a comment on modern times.
post #379 of 618
I know how to catch em better than anyone else in my family.
That's why I never had to do the cleaning. I agree w/ what you mean though.
post #380 of 618
Thread Starter 
I fished a lot in the '70s and I found cleaning fish gross. I always had one of the adults in the group do mine.
post #381 of 618
Shoot, I can barely catch a fish. I once "caught" a king salmon on a fishing tour in Monterrey Bay, but I think the captain actually hooked it and handed me the rod. It's been a while and my ego has clouded my memory. Also caught a bunch of rockfish on various daytrips in the Chesapeake, but only a few were ever keepers. And a bunch of perch and croakers on a friend's boat, again in the Chesapeake. Besides that, not a single lake fish or river fish, nor have I ever gone fishing on my own, you know, where I had to have my own rod, tie my own hooks, etc.

Fish cleaning is pretty gross but it's one of those things I really know I ought to know how to do. Like fishing itself. One of these days...
post #382 of 618
I learned all about cleaning fish as a kid. I haven't done it in years though since I don't really go fishing anymore. I learned how to fillet the fish with a big fixed blade knife. When I first saw an actual fillet knife I was amazed that something so flimsy could be useful.
post #383 of 618
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
I fished a lot in the '70s and I found cleaning fish gross. I always had one of the adults in the group do mine.

I wouldn't even put the worm on the hook myself.
post #384 of 618

post #385 of 618
Thread Starter 
Fish, part 2.

This class actually took place more than a week ago, but I am only getting around to writing this up now. What can I say. I am getting sort of tired of writing these.

These were all recipes that I had done in Knife skills, as I noted last time. The first thing was butchery. We had to filet more flounder, but this time our round fish was a trout.

Trout is much more delicate than sea bass, so the chance that you will hack the fish up with your knife increases greatly. This is BAD, because it makes for uneven cooking and a lousy presentation. So be careful. The other thing about trout is that the pin bones are more numerous and much thinner and harder to see. And, since the flesh is so delicate, it's quite easy to mangle it as you remove the pin bones. There is no remedy except to go slowly and be careful. For me it was not a quick operation. In a restaurant atmosphere, where everything has to be done fast AND well I am sure I would be terrible. I don't know how anyone can filet a trout fast without mangling it, but I suppose practice is the key, as ever.

The next step was prep, endless prep. The first recipe was to be goujonettes de sole, essentially highbrow fish sticks. We made two sauces for this, a rémoulade (flavored mayo) and a red pepper puree.

We also made potato baskets. These actually had not been included in the recipe in Knife Skills, and they were sort of neat. You shred some potatoes in a madonline, then heat your pot of oil. To make the baskets, you need two ... well, I don't know what they were called. They were shaped like ladles, but they were wire so that liquid would pass through. One was smaller than the other so that the basket part easily fit inside. You lay a layer of potato shreddings in the larger one, then press the smaller one inside. This holds the basket's shape. Dunk in the hot oil until it starts to look golden, then remove. Tap with a wooden spoon to release it from the ladle thingy back into the oil. Let it fry for a bit longer then remove to a rack. Your basket is done.

The rémoulade I have already described in an earlier post. The red pepper sauce was simple. You seed and then brunoise the peppers, then sweat with onion and garlic. Add some water, cover with a cartouche, and cook until soft and breaking apart. Then puree in a blender, adding a little reduced heavy cream. Season at the end.

For the goujonettes, you take your flat fish filets and slice into strips on the bias. Go at the opposite angle of the lines in the flesh, this helps them stay strong. Then roll them on the cutting board to make them even. They should look like small cigars.

Then it's the same drill as doing the chicken viennoise, that is, a l'anglaise, but the breading anglaise, not the vegetable anglaise. Flour + beaten whole egg, olive oil and salt + bread crumbs. Once the crumbs are on, roll them again.

Then they are deep fried. You just want a light golden, it does not take long.

To plate, put the goujonettes in the basket, and arrange the sauce in front.

The other recipe was trout "grenobloise." This is trout cooked in clarified butter and served with a lemon brown butter sauce. It was not complicated, but it does go very fast, so everything has to be in place before you start. You won't have time to prep while something else is cooking.

For trout, we left the skin on. As long as it is thoroughly scaled in advance, and cooked fast and let dry so that it crisps, it is quite tasty. You would never leave the skin on a flat fish, however.

This fish gets sautéed very quickly in clarified butter. Getting the heat right is key, and very tricky. Basically there is a sweet spot: you want to get good color, crisp the skin and cook the fish fast without drying the flesh at all, but you want no hint of burning. You will know it by the sizzle, the sound, the smell, and the speed. You start skin side down, and there should be a definite sizzle, but not a violent crackle. The edges of the fish should take some time to cook through and turn white. If it happens immediately, you have a problem. If it doesn't happen at all, you have a problem.

The sauce is brown butter. You leave in the clarified butter that the fish was cooked in, then add a bunch of whole butter. It will melt and cook fast. It will also burn easily, so watch it. Add some lemon juice and the supremes (segments) of one lemon, and also some capers. At the last minute, add chopped parsley and croutons (which should have been made before and set aside to drain on a paper towel).

For garnish, we tourneed some potatoes and boiled them, and also braised some fennel. To me, fennel was always a seed that tasted like black licorice. Turns out it is also a root vegetable.

post #386 of 618
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
This class actually took place more than a week ago, but I am only getting around to writing this up now. What can I say. I am getting sort of tired of writing these.

I know how you feel there.

The first dish looks really good. Especially that red pepper coulis.
post #387 of 618
I personally like the second one.

Thanks for posting this.
post #388 of 618
Now I want to make some potato baskets...I wonder what sort of ghetto creation I could devise to fry them....
post #389 of 618
Thread Starter 
Duck, and more chicken. We were supposed to do two duck recipes, roast one whole, and sauté magret (breasts) on the burner. But they didn't have magrets, so instead we broke down our whole ducks, braised the legs, and sautéed the breasts. The sauce - classic a l'orange - was the same.

Breaking down a duck is no different than a chicken, or not much different. One difference is that you don't leave any part of the wing attached to the duck breast, like you do for chicken. Also, the bones are tougher, and for such a large bird, there is surprisingly less meat. There is also a lot more fat. A lot. Some of that you can trim off as you debone. The rest you have to render out as you cook.

All the fat that you trim away can be melted on low heat with a little water and then stored and used for cooking later - for instance, for duck confit, but also for other recipes. The school always does this because they always have use for it (they always have use for everything). We also gave all our bones to the restaurant, which needs them for duck stock.

Then we seasoned (no pepper on the skin side, as it would leave marks) and browned the legs in a sautoir with a little duck fat. You need that initial fat to get the cooking started and to ensure that the legs don't stick. But fairly quickly, they started to render out their subcutaneous fat. This has to be spooned out with some regularity, or else the duck will literally fry and not sauté. If you time everything correctly, you will have the color you want just as most of the fat has been rendered and discarded. You also need to brown the flesh side.

We also browned the duck neck, which was kept in the liquid to help flavor the sauce.

Then we set aside as we browned mirepoix (no celery) in the same pan. Once browned, we added veal stock, a bouquet garni, and returned the legs, skin side up. It went into the oven, covered, where it cooked for a good 45 minutes to an hour. Duck legs take forever to cook. When cooked in liquid, they are hard to overcook, but not impossible, so you have to watch them. Every once in a while, take them out and poke around in the flesh side with your knife. If you see no red, they are done.

The breasts are done only in a pan. It's strange, but duck is cooked in a bifurcated way. You want the legs well done, thoroughly cooked, and the breast medium rare at most (some say rare simply).

Anyway, first cut some lines in the skin (this is called scoring) to help the fat grain as the breast cooks. Put a little fat in the pan, again just to get the process started and to ensure no stickage, then cook the breasts skin side down on low to medium low heat for a long time, spooning out the fat as it renders. When the skin is nice and brown and the fat is gone or mostly gone, turn over the breasts and cook the flesh side on medium heat for two or three minutes.

For the sauce: when the legs are done, take them out and set them on a rack. Cook the liquid, with all the elements still in it, for a while on the burner. It should reduce a lot, so it can take a while. Meanwhile, make your gastrique. This is sugar and white vinegar, cooked until the sugar caramelizes into a syrup. Then strain the sauce through a fine chinois, add the juice from one orange, a shot of orange liqueur, and the gastrique and reduce some more. Season with salt and pepper and strain again. It should have, as ever, a nappe consistency.

For a garnish, we made pommes gaufrettes (fried waffle cut wafers). When we learned this, I had a hell of a time on the mandoline cutting them, but this time I did fine, no blood even. We also made cherry tomatoes, cooked very slowly immersed in olive oil. We also made salsify. This is a root vegetable that looks like a stick. You have to peel it, and then there are many ways to cook it. We sliced it on the bias and sautéed it.

Additional garnish was supremes of orange, and a nifty little trick using the zest. You peel it off into strips, then julienne the strips, then blanch three times in plain water, then cook in sugared water until the liquid becomes syrupy. Then let dry and coat the strips in sugar. Little pieces of candy for the plate.

That's a little more done than I prefer, actually, but it was still tasty. The sauce was excellent.

Actually, had we done the magrets we would have done them the same way as we did the butchered breasts, so we did not miss anything there.

The chicken was butterflied and grilled, though Chef (and the book) did not use the term butterfly. But that's what we did. We deboned the chicken entirely except for the drumstick bones and the bones from the wing joint closest to the breast. Then the chicken was seasoned (no pepper on the skin side) and rubbed lightly with oil and grilled flat.

Once again, the grill was an inferno, painful too stand near, agonizing when you held your hand over it to move any food. We grilled the chicken skin side down just long enough to get quadriallage marks on the skin, then it was finished in the oven, resting on a bed of chicken bones, which apparently enhance the flavor. When it was nearly cooked we brushed it with mustard and gave it a light sprinkling of bread crumbs and put it back in the oven.

For a sauce, we reduced some veal stock, then sweated shallots (no color), added mignonette (cracked peppercorns, vinegar, white wine, water and the stock. That reduced for a long time. It was super spicy, but before serving we added salt. butter, and chopped herbs (parsley, tarragon, chervil, and thyme), which tempered it quite a bit. This is called Sauce Diablo.

Other garnish was tomato (halved and seeded), mushrooms (stemmed and peeled) and bacon slices tossed with oil and chopped herbs and grilled then finished in the oven. Finally, watercress, raw.

post #390 of 618
great post. thanks for sharing.
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