Bienville is the name if a classic sauce and this word also refers to a traditional cooking application. Bienville is a community that is nestled in forests just north of Paris. The weather in Bienville is quite cold during winter and the local cuisine reflects upon the weather. Bienville Sauce is about as rich as a sauce gets!
Bienville Sauce is used to make baked fish recipes. Trout Bienville is the classic original version. A whole deboned trout is topped with the Bienville sauce and then baked. In New Orleans, oysters are commonly prepared with Bienville sauce.
Bienville sauce can be adapted to any whitefish. Pollack is a nice light tasting ocean fish that has meat that easily flakes. Pollack is usually listed as being sustainable, so this species of fish is a good choice for preparing it Bienville style.
When Pollack Bienville is prepared in a casserole dish, croutons can be placed under the fish filets to elevate the fish slightly above the sauce. Sourdough Croutons add a complimentary flavor.
Bacon or salt pork lardons are a Bienville Sauce ingredient. The better the bacon, the better the Bienville Sauce will taste. Hickory Smoked Bacon adds a nice rustic flavor that supports the forested Bienville region theme.
This recipe yields a little more than 1 1/4 cups.
Step 1: Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
Add 2 slices of hickory smoked bacon that are diced.
Gently sauté, till the bacon bits are crisp and lightly browned.
Drain the grease off of the bacon bits and set them aside.
Step 2: Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
Sauté till the shallots turn clear in color.
Step 3: Add just enough flour to soak up the excess butter, while stirring with a whisk. (About 3 teaspoons. The roux should look shiny, not caky.)
Stir until the roux is thoroughly combined and it is a white color.
Step 4: Add 1/4 cup of Dry Sherry.
Add 1/2 cup of fumet. (Whitefish stock.)
Whisk occasionally as the roux thickens the sauce.
Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
Step 5: Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Add the reserved smoked bacon bits.
Add 3/4 cup of milk.
Add 1/4 cup of cream.
Add 1 pinch of thyme.
Add 1 small pinch of tarragon.
Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a medium thin consistency that can easily coat a spoon.
Step 6: Remove the sauce from the heat.
Add 2 thin sliced green onions.
Stir the sauce.
Keep the sauce warm on a stove top or chill the sauce for later use.
Filet of Pollack Bienville:
This recipe yields 1 entrée.
Step 1: Cut 2 pollack filets that weigh about 3 1/2 to 4 ounces apiece. (The fish filets must be able to fit in a single portion casserole dish.)
Lightly season the filets with sea salt and black pepper.
Dredge the filets in flour.
Dip the filets in milk.
Dredge the filets in flour a second time. Let the filets sit in the flour.
Step 2: Cut a 1/2" thick slice of sourdough boule bread loaf.
Cut the slice of sourdough in half.
Trim the 2 pieces of bread, so they are about the same size and shape as the 2 filets of pollack. (The bread pieces must be able to fit in a single portion casserole dish.)
Brush both sides of the croutons with melted unsalted butter.
Step 3: Heat a wide sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
Grill the croutons in the hot sauté pan till they are toasted golden brown on both sides.
Place the croutons in a casserole dish.
Step 4: If necessary, wipe the hot sauté pan clean.
Place the sauté pan over medium heat.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
Add the prepared pollack filets.
Sauté the pollack filets on both sides till they are golden brown.
Step 5: Remove the pan from the heat.
Place the pollack filets on top of the sourdough croutons in the casserole dish.
Spoon a generous amount of the Bienville sauce over and around the pollack filets. (About 1 1/4 cups.)
Step 6: Place the casserole dish in a 350ºF oven.
Bake until the sauce is piping hot and golden brown highlights appear on the fish.
Step 7: Remove the casserole dish from the oven and let it cool for 1 minute.
Place the casserole dish on a doily lined serving plate.
Sprinkle 1 thin sliced green onion top over the Filet of Pollack Bienville.
Garnish the casserole dish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
Serve with a vegetable and potato of your choice on the side.
Warm comfortable French food for a chilly day!