Saturday, May 7, 2016

Medallions of Lotte Lautrec

     A Classic French Café Style Monkfish Entrée! 
     Lotte is also called Monkfish.  Monkfish is a deep water fish.  Monkfish has a flavor and texture that is similar to lobster.  Lotte is best when it is cut into medallions and quickly sautéed.  
     Many years ago, Lotte was known as "Poor Man's Lobster."  Lotte is also called "Slipper Tail."  Dubious chefs used to substitute Lotte in place of lobster or use Lotte as a filler in recipes like Cioppino and Bouillabaisse.  Substituting Lotte for Lobster is a deceptive marketing practice, but fortunately, most modern chefs have never heard of this cost cutting measure.
     Lotte used to be sold at a very cheap price and it was abundant.  Now Lotte is rarely seen at fish markets and the price is fairly high.  Lotte does have sustainability issues.  It is always best to check the sustainability of Lotte at reputable marine websites before making a purchase, so the dining venture will be guilt free.  If no Lotte is available, then large shrimp, prawns or even Spiny Lobster Tail is a good substitute.
     The Mint Crème Sauce in today's recipe was named in honor of the great French painter, Toulouse Lautrec.  I am not sure who created the original Lautrec Sauce, but it was well known over 30 years ago, back when I was apprenticing with a French chef that taught culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.  The French chef liked serving the Mint Crème Lautrec Sauce on seafood during the spring season.            

     Lautrec Mint Crème Sauce:  
     This recipe yields about 3 ounces.  (Enough for 1 entrée.)
     The Lautrec Mint Crème Sauce is usually made to order, so the crisp mint flavor is at a peak.  This sauce is usually made as a reduction, instead of being made as a secondary Béchamel Sauce.   
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of finely minced shallot.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce the till the wine is a thin syrup consistency.  
     Step 2:  Add 3/4 cup of cream.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced fresh mint leaves.  
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce a thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.
     *Start cooking the Lotte, before the sauce loses its fresh mint character! 

     Medallions of Lotte Lautrec:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Cut a 6 ounce monkfish filet into 4 thick medallions.
     Season the monkfish medallions with sea salt and black pepper.  
     Step 2:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of blended olive oil. 
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the seasoned monkfish medallions.
     Sear the medallions on both sides, till golden brown highlights appear and they are fully cooked.
     *Try to only flip the lotte medallions once when searing! 
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Arrange the monkfish medallions on a plate. 
     Spoon sauce on the plate around the monkfish medallions. 
     Serve with rice and a vegetable of your choice.
     Garnish the plate with a mint sprig.
     *The vegetables in the photos:
     - Plain steamed brown rice was placed in a mold and then inverted on the plate.
     – Eggplant sticks (3/8"x3/8"x 3 1/2") were dredged in seasoned flour then dipped in buttermilk.  The eggplant sticks were dredged in flour a second time and then fried in 360ºF vegetable frying oil.
     - Buttered par boiled peas and pimiento.  

     Medallions of Lotte Lautrec is a refreshingly simple elegant entrée that is perfect for the spring season! 

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