An elegant French collée platter! Chilled collée coated filet of sole on aspic served with roasted radicchio, yellow tomato, purple potato, onion and dill weed vinaegrette
Gelatin And Aspic
Gelatin can be made from animal, seaweed or vegetables and each type of gelatin has its own name. Some gelatins have more gelling power than others. For aChaud Froid recipe, the gelatin is most often used as a clear coat the creates a glistening effect. Gelatin is always colorless and flavorless.
Aspic is a gelatin that has flavor, color or both. The flavor can be savory or sweet.
Aspic and gelatin shreds are often used as a garnish or as a bed for collee preparations of fish. Thin gelatin and aspic shreds add a nice jeweled look to a plate.
Collée is a French gelatin preparation that is one of the Chaud Froid technique styles. Chaud Froid translates to "hot - cold." The effect of rich warm food that cools and gels is basically what Chaud Froid is about.
Collée is made with mayonnaise, sour cream, crème fraîche, plain yogurt or a mixture of any of these white color materials. Gelatin or agar is used to give the white collée a firm texture when it is chilled. Collée is always a pure white color. Collée is usually finish coated with clear gelatin.
Collée is usually used to coat chilled poached or chilled lightly smoked fish. Whole flatfish are often coated with collée for banquet style offerings.
A Chaud Froid decorated platter is usually made with a simple base sauce of Gelled Béchamel or Collée. The sauce only has to be a white color and the flavor does not matter in most Chaud Froid applications. The for decorative inedible Chaud Froid, the Béchamel can be thickened with roux or corn starch.
Chaud Froid Béchamel can be pure white or any color that is preferred and the texture can range from soft to a very firm. Hard firm inedible Chaud Froid Béchamel, Collée or Aspic of any color is used to decorate a platter with a very firm base coating of color.
Firm gelatin or aspic of any color is also part of Chaud Froid. These substances can be used to decorate the firm gelled Béchamel on a platter. Vegetables and herbs can also be used to decorate a Chaud Froid Platter.
The chilled food items are placed on the decorative firm Chaud Froid Platter after the Chaud Froid is coated with clear gelatin to create a glassy visual effect. The Chaud Froid design subject will be described in a recipe that will be published soon.
Here is an example of a Chaud Froid Platter before clear coating and the completed platter:
Roasted Garden Vegetables En Vinaigrette
To avoid confusion, I often spell the word Vinaigrette as "Vinaegrette." The reason why is because the first French cookbook that I studied was a tattered old copy of a French cookbook that was originally published over one hundred years ago. "Vinaegrette" was the spelling used in that book and the spelling stuck.
Roasted vegetables served at room temperature with vinaegrette were popular in the 1980's. Elegant colorful roasted vegetables are very nice for garnishing garde manger station platters. Purple potato, yellow tomato, radicchio and onion with diced roasted red bell pepper adds royal contrasting colors to this platter. The mild accompanying vinaegrette features the fresh garden flavor of dill weed. The dill vinaegrette also is nice with the sole collée in today's recipe.
• Anytime that more than one item is featured on a platter, the flavors have to contrast and compliment each other. The items also have to be arranged with a clear focal point. For today's platter the focal point is the bright white filet of sole collée.
• Flow is also important and the curve of the overlapping roasted vegetables demonstrates flow.
• Balance is part of banquet platter design and unity is another requirement. This platter has a balanced appearance as far as the size and shapes are concerned. Portion Balance is important too. Basically the high proportion of vegetables on today's platter show that this entrée is meant to be shared by two guests. In effect, this collée entrée is basically a roasted vegetable salad with fancy fish. Unity describes how the flavors work with each other.
• Unity also describes how the colors of the items contrast with each other, physically and symbolically. For a classy looking item like sole en collée, the royal golden colors of the gelatin, aspic and purple roasted vegetables demonstrate symbolic unity.
As chefs move up the ladder in fine cuisine, the design of banquet platters becomes more demanding. Although most banquet food is not rated by Michelin standards, the quality of banquet food is part of the resort rating system.
For a classy banquet, a collée platter is perfect. Sharing a collée platter with stylish roasted vegetables at a table is a nice way to inspire relaxed casual afternoon conversation.
For a collée platter like today's presentation, the maitre d' serves the first round of the items on the platter to the guests at the table. As one can imagine, this makes the guests feel special and elegance is achieved. Shared platter dining room service also facilitates better tipping rates for the maitre d' or wait staff captain.
Poached Filet of Sole:
Step 1: Place a 6 to 8 ounce trimmed filet of sole in a wide braising pot or sauteuse pan.
Add 1 tablespoon of chopped onion.
Add 1 tablespoon of chopped celery.
Add 1 chopped garlic clove.
Add 4 Italian parsley sprigs.
Add 1 laurel leaf.
Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
Add 1 ounce of dry white wine.
Add 5 black peppercorns.
Add sea salt.
Add just enough water to cover the sole file.
Step 2: Place the pot over medium low heat.
Bring the liquid to a simmer.
Poach till the sole is almost fully cooked.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Allow the sole filet and the poaching liquid to room temperature.
Step 3: Carefully use a spatula to place the poached sole file on a plate.
Brush any of the court bouillon poaching ingredients off of the sole filet.
Place the poached sole filet on a wire screen roasting rack.
Place the roasting rack on a clean drip pan.
Chill the poached sole in a refrigerator, till it reaches minus 41º.
Filet Of Sole Collée:
Collée takes time and patience to apply correctly. The white collée coating is applied in several coats, so the coating looks uniform. After each coat of collée, the sole much be chilled, so the collée gels.
The first coat of clear gelatin is applied after the colleee looks uniform. The herb applique is also applied during the first coating of gelatin. Then a few more coats of gelatin are necessary to give the finished product a glass like appearance.
Do not over heat gelatin, collée or aspic, or the gelling power will be affected. Use a digital probe thermometer.
Be sure all work surfaces are clean, so no contamination occurs. Have all the ingredients and utensils organized for each stage of the recipe.
A wire screen roasting rack over a pan is necessary for catching the collee or gelatin overflow. The chilled overflow can be scraped off of the catch pan and melted, so it can be reused. Any excess clear gelatin will be used to make both the aspic and gelatin shred garnish.
Because mayonnaise contains oil, the gelling power of the collee will be effected. By adding milk, sour cream or cream, the gelling power will almost return to normal. Collée for coating requires just a little extra gelatin and that amount is figured into this recipe.
Step 1: Place 1/3 cup of mayonnaise in a small sauce pot.
Add 1/3 cup of milk.
Add 1/3 cup of sour cream.
Add 1/2 cup of water.
Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
Gently stir the ingredients together with a whisk.
Rain 8 1/2 grams to 9 grams of powdered gelatin on the surface of the liquid.
Allow the gelatin to bloom and do not stir.
Step 2: Place the pot over low/very low heat.
Gently warm the mixture, till the gelatin melts into the liquid. Stir occasionally with a spoon. The gelatin should dissolve somewhere near 130ºF to 140ºF. Try to let the mixture reach 140ºF so most pathogen threats are eliminated. Do not allow the liquid to boil!
Reduce the temperature to 110ºF to 120ºF to hold the collee, till it is needed.
Step 3: After any air bubbles disappear, use a 1 ounce ladle to pour one coat of the collée over the chilled poached filet of sole.
Pop any air bubbles.
Immediately place the sole and catch pan in the refrigerator and chill to minus 41º.
Repeat these steps, till the filet of sole is coated with an opaque, even, glassy smooth layer of collée.
After the sole chills and the colée gels each time it is chilled, the excess collée in the drip pan can be scraped off and returned to the pot. (Add a splash of water to the collee in the pot as necessary, to make up for any evaporation.)
Keep the finished collee coated filet of sole chilled.
Any excess collee can be chilled and reheated for another recipe.
Step 1: Place 1 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pot.
Rain 8 grams of powdered gelatin on the surface of the liquid.
Allow the gelatin to bloom.
Step 2: Place the sauce pot over low/very low heat.
Heat till the gelatin dissolves into the liquid. Do not allow the liquid to boil.
Hold the clear coating gelatin at 110ºF to 120ºF.
Step 3: Get a few washed and trimmed decorative small dill sprigs and Italian Parsley leaves ready.
Step 4: Transfer the wire screen roasting rack to a new clean catch pan.
Use a 1 ounce ladle to pour the first coat of clear coating gelatin over the chilled collée coated filet of sole.
Place some decorative dill sprigs and parsley leaves on the wet clear gelatin on the fish, so it looks nice.
Pop any air bubbles.
Gently use a tiny spatula the press the herbs flat against the surface of the collee.
Immediately chill the filet of sole to minus 41º.
Step 5: For the next coat, just drizzle enough clear gelatin over the herbs to seal them in place.
Pop any bubbles.
Chill the sole to minus 41º.
Use a 1 ounce ladle to pour a full coat of clear gelatin over the sole.
Pop any bubbles.
Chill the sole to minus 41º.
Repeat this step, till the sole en collee takes on a smooth glassy appearance.
Keep the finished decorated and clear coated sole en collee chilled, till it is plated.
Clear Gelatin Shreds Garnish:
Place the excess clear coat from the drip pan back in the clear gelatin in the pot.
Melt the clear coat.
Pour 2 ounces of the clear coat gelatin on a clean plate.
Chill the clear gelatin till it sets.
Score 1/4" wide lines across the firm gelatin.
Use a spatula to scrape the gelatin free from the pan to created clear shreds.
Keep the clear shreds chilled.
Gold Aspic Shreds:
Step 1: There should be a couple ounces of clear gelatin leftover in the pot.
Add 2 ounces of clear chicken bouillon or fish bouillon.
Add 1 pinch of turmeric or a few drops of saffron water.
Simmer over low heat till the additional 2 ounces of liquid evaporates.
Step 2: Pour 2 ounces of the gold colored aspic on a clean plate.
Chill the aspic till it sets.
Score 1/4" wide lines across the firm aspic.
Use a spatula to scrape the aspic free from the pan to create gold shreds.Keep the gold aspic shreds chilled.
This recipe yields enough for 2 portions.
Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar in a small mixing bowl.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of shallot puree.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic paste.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped dill weed.
Let the ingredients stand for 5 minutes.
Slowly stream 4 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the mixture, while gently whisking to create a partially emulsified vinaegrette.
Set the dill vinaegrette aside.
Stir before serving.
About 3 to 4 slices of each vegetable is enough for 2 portions.
Step 1: Boil 1 large purple potato in water over medium high heat, till it becomes fully cooked, yet still firm and not mushy.
Cool the potato under cold running water.
Use the back of a paring knife to peel the potato.
Cut the potato into 1/4" to 3/8" long bias slices.
Place the potato slices on a large roasting pan that is brushed with blended olive oil.
Step 2: Cut 3 or 4 slices of vidalia onion that are 1/4" to 3/8" thick and place them on the roasting pan with the potatoes.
Step 3: Place 3 or 4 slices of trimmed radicchio slices that are the same thickness on the pan.
Brush the vegetables with blended olive oil.
Season with sea salt and white pepper.
Roast the vegetables in a 350ºF oven, till they just begin to cook.
Remove the pan from the oven.
Step 4: Place 3 or 4 vine ripe yellow tomato slices on the pan.
Brush the yellow tomato slices with blended olive oil.
Season the yellow tomato slices.
Return the pan to the oven.
Roast the vegetables, till the become al dente and till they just begin to caramelize.
Remove the pan from the oven.
Keep the roasted vegetables warm on a stove top.
Filet de Sole Collée sur aspic avec légumes du jardin rôti et herbe d'aneth vinaigrette:
Plate the collee last, so it is not damaged by any spatters!
Step 1: Carefully use a spatula to overlap and the warm roasted vegetable slices across the back half of a large serving platter. Alternate the vegetables when placing them.
Step 2: Place a bed of the clear gelatin shreds and the golden aspic shreds on the front center of the platter as a bed for the sole en collée.
Step 4: Sprinkle some diced roasted red bell pepper over the roasted vegetables and onto the platter near the vegetables.
Step 5: Spoon a generous amount of the dill vinaegrette over the roasted vegetables and onto the platter near the vegetables.
Step 6: Carefully use a thin blade carving knife to cut the poached sole filet en collée free from the wire screen rack, by gliding the blade against the surface of the rack under the sole filet.
Use a spatula to place the sole en collée on a cutting board.
Use a paring knife to trim off any excess collée or gelatin flash.
Use a spatula to place the sole en collée on top of the bed of shredded gelatin and shredded golden aspic.
No garnish is necessary!
Serve with sliced French bread and crostini on the side.
This is not only a nice looking collée and roasted vegetable platter, it tastes nice too!