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Monday, November 25, 2013

Fish in Puff Pastry (Julia Child style) | You've Got Meal!

I’m actually super excited about writing this post, it was a wonderful thing to cook and the making of the pastry, although fairly time consuming and not easy, is incredibly fulfilling. Could be just me, but I just loved making the pastry and using it here.  I took the recipe for the puff pastry from this site.

It’s thoroughly explained and detailed and I followed every step there. I’m going to try and give you as much feedback as I can, but let’s be honest you’ll probably check Julia Child and Michel Richard. For my pastry I used half the quantities given by the 2 masters as I didn’t need all that much pastry.  

  • 375 grams of all purpose flour, 
  • 150 ml of ice cold water, 
  • 200 grams of cold butter, 
  • 1 tsp. of salt. 
They say all over the internet that the trick behind making pastry is respecting the temperature of the ingredients and there is no room for error there. The way Child makes the pastry is by first creating a dough from the flour, ice cold water and salt. A food processor does do the trick, but I used a whisk and my hands. 

  1. First note here – try and use your hands at least as possible as they will heat the dough and, especially, the butter. 
  2. After the dough was done, I let it cool in the fridge for 15 minutes, covered in some paper towels. 
  3. For the butter, place it between  2 cling films and press it down to a 1,5 cm thickness – give it the form of a square and put in the fridge. Like I said before, limit the direct use of your hands. Also the faster you work, the more steps you can make before having to return the pastry in the fridge. 
  4. Take the dough, place it on well floured, clean, dry and flat work surface and shape it in a square shape, about ½ half bigger than the butter square. 
  5. Next, with your rolling pin, create sort of flaps form the corners of the dough – those wedges will be thinner and the middle will remain thicker. 
  6. Place the butter in the middle of the dough and cover it with the thinned down corners. The thing I did next was to fold the dough one more time, creating something like a rectangle or a book. Keep the work surface well floured. When butter popped out of different places in the dough (and trust me it sure did) I just sprinkled some flour on top. 
  7. Next, create another square by rolling the dough with your pin, make the same flaps as before and repeat the folding process.  I only did 2 of those at a time, keeping the pastry for 40 minutes in the fridge. In total I made 6 folds-I would have done more, but it was getting kind of late and I was hungry. 
  8. Keep the pastry in the fridge until you are ready to cook it. 

Now, I think, vaguely, I said something about some fish? I got a little carried away with the pastry, so let me get to the filling.

  • 3 pieces of perch, 100 grams each (cod works just as well, like sea bass or sea bream), 
  • 3 pieces of leek (the white part) cut into slices, 
  • 1 chili- optional, 
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, 
  • parsley, 
  • dill, 
  • salt, pepper and olive oil. 

  1. Start of by cooking the leek – you can do this while the pastry cools in the fridge. This way will also give you the time you need for the leek to cool, as it needs to be this way before being put in the pastry. Cooking the vegetable is super easy, on medium-low heat sauté the leek (and the finely chopped chili- if you choose to add it) in 3 tbs of olive oil for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Crush the garlic with some salt in a mortar, add 50 grams of water on top, mix and pour the garlic in the leak pot. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the leak has softened enough to create a base for the fish to have under. 

You can now begin to assemble your dish, roll a sheet of pastry, about 0.5 cm thick, big enough to fit your piece of fish. Place some leek on the dough, the fish on top, sprinkle some salt (careful here, remember that the leeks have also been salted), pepper and some whole leaves of parsley and dill. Close the dough creating (in my case) a wallet. Brush the dough with some whisked egg white, this will close the pocket and it will give a nice shine to the dish. Place the fish in a preheated oven, on medium high heat for 15-17 minutes or until the pastry has a golden- slightly brown color.

The result is a versatile dish, that can be served warm or at room temperature, you can make it in smaller portions and serve it as an appetizer. Use some fresh, crunchy boiled green beans as a side dish, or maybe similar mange tout. Give yourself the time (and the courage) to try and make the dough, it will be worth it. If you’re in a hurry, use some premade frozen pastry and just follow the instructions on the package. Whichever way you approach, you can be assured that this French themed dish is a definite keeper in your kitchen. 


1 comment:

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