Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Filet of Flounder en Croute with Dill Crème

     Savory Whitefish Pastry!
     Fish that is baked in puff pastry is always a nice entrée choice for a chilly day.  The fish remains moist after baking when using this technique.
     Flounder is a delicate whitefish that can easily be overpowered if it is seasoned too heavily.  Only a light sprinkle of salt and pepper is needed.  The light flounder aroma is noticeable when the pastry is cut open.  The simple dill sauce is all the extra flavor that the flounder and pastry needs.
     Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets can be found in nearly any grocery store.  Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets are a nice convenience.  I published a strudel style puff pastry recipe some time ago, but that is a specialized pastry that has an extra high butter content.  Puff Pastry is not difficult to make from scratch, but the process is time consuming.  Winter is the best time of year to make puff pastry, because kitchen temperatures can be kept cool.
     I used some leftover store bought pre-made puff pastry for making the photo example.  I noticed that the pastry had become damp from refrigerator condensation.  I managed to form the pastry into shape before baking, but the pastry did not rise and become flaky like it should.  A fresh sheet of puff pastry dough would have created a more uniform look.  The flounder pattern that was decoratively etched into the pastry for the photo example ended up looking like Pacific Basking Sunfish after it came out of the oven.  Even so, the entrée turned out good enough to pass.  Ce est la vie!
     Filet of Flounder en Croute:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Select a 6 to 8 ounce flounder filet and mentally note its shape and dimensions.
     Step 2:  Lightly dust a counter top with flour.
     Place a sheet of puff pastry on the floured counter top.
     Cut two pieces of pastry that are 1" larger than the shape of the flounder filet.
     Step 3:  Place the flounder filet on the center of one of the pastry sheets.
     Lightly season the flounder with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 4:  Brush the edge of the pastry around the fish with egg wash.
     Lay the other sheet of pastry over the flounder.
     Gently press the edges together.
     Step 5:  Decoratively trim the pastry so it looks like the outline of a fish.
     Step 6:  Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking pan.
     Lightly brush the paper with melted unsalted butter.
     Carefully place the pastry covered flounder filet on the paper lined sheet pan.
     Step 7:  Score some gill, fin and eye marks on the pastry.  (optional)
     Brush the pastry with egg wash.
     Step 8:  Bake in a 375ºF oven till the pastry is a golden brown color.
     Dill Crème:  
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup.  (2 to 3 portions)
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Gently sauté till the shallot turns clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add just enough flour to absorb the butter in the pan while stirring with a whisk.  (About 1 teaspoon)
     Stir till the roux is a white color.
     Step 3:  Add 3 ounces of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Stir till the wine starts to thicken with the roux.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 cup of milk.
     Add 1/4 cup of cream.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 5:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Stir occasionally as the sauce heats and thickens to a very thin consistency.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 7:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill weed.
     Stir the sauce.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.  Add milk if the sauce is too thick.
     Filet of Flounder en Croute with Dill Crème:
     This recipe describes 1 entrée presentation.
     Spoon about 1/4 cup of the Dill Crème on a plate as a bed for the flounder.
     Use a spatula to place the Filet of Flounder en Croute on the Dill Crème.
     Garnish with dill sprigs and lemon slices.
     Serve with a vegetable of your choice.
     *Yellow squash and fresh plum tomato ragout was the vegetable in the pictures.

     The flounder inside the pastry tastes like flounder and nothing else because it is lightly seasoned.  Dipping each piece of the pastry and flounder in the dill sauce adds all the extra flavor that is needed.  Dill is a very nice herb for a cream sauce!

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