This week’s FFWD recipe choice, Skate with Capers, Cornichons, and Brown Butter Sauce, was another Are you kidding me? moment in my French Fridays career. First, I was not that familiar with skate. Okay, to be truthful, I probably didn’t even remember it was a fish and member of the stingray family. Skate is another French favorite. In America, not so much.
In the late 90’s, skate wings, the edible part of this fish, flew over the pond, landing on plates in Manhattan’s fancier restaurants. Although still not a popular entrée throughout this country, you will find it on menus in tonier restaurants. If I ever see it on the menu, I will order it.
But for now, let’s turn to wild Alaskan Pacific cod, the mild-tasting whitefish I substituted in this week’s recipe. Unlike it’s maligned, overfished Atlantic cousin, this cod is an ocean-friendly seafood choice. According to Fishwatch, “Alaska fisheries for Pacific cod account for more than two-thirds of the world’s Pacific cod supply, and are considered among the best managed fisheries in the world.”
The result was cod-licious, thanks to the killer sauce Dorie suggested for this dish. After dredging four 6-ounce cod filets in flour, salt and pepper, drop them in a heavy skillet coated with 2 ounces of melted butter. I cooked the cod four minutes on each side until it was lightly browned and flaked easily. After transferring the fish to a heatproof platter and tenting with foil, I put it in the oven to remain warm while I made the (killer) sauce (recipe below).
Although Dorie suggests serving this entrée on a pillow of mashed potatoes or Celery Root Purée, I detoured down the veggie highway and mixed together Sautéed Spinach with Cherry Tomatoes. Since this (killer) sauce has so much going on – grainy mustard, brown butter, cornichons and capers -, I didn’t want “my pillow” to muscle into the spotlight.
Not only was this a satisfying dinner but also a lovely breakfast and afternoon snack. The following morning I flaked a fillet, added it to the vegetables and made a frittata. Pretty darn delicious.
The 2014 Food & Wine Classic begins in Aspen today, continuing through Sunday, June 22nd. It’s the 32nd year for this festival, bringing together celebrity chefs, corporates (food purveyors, wine professionals and spirit reps) and folks who like to eat and drink and can cough up $1250 for the weekend pass. There will be nearly 100 official events including cooking demonstrations, food, wine and cheese seminars, tastings, conversations and book signings.
Our local community has a long history of volunteering in exchange for a Pass to the Classic. In the past I helped set up tables and chairs and poured wine during seminar tastings. For more years than probably necessary, I sliced baguettes, filling hundreds of bread baskets for the two daily Grand Tastings. Obviously that’s where my talent lies but this year I joined the Green Team. My job, as I understand it, is to help the attendees remember the meaning of recyclable, compostable and trash.
I’m hoping to see Marcus Samuelsson’s demo in the Cooking Tent and Laura Werlin’s seminar, “Mountain Wines, Mountain Cheeses” and more. Giada DeLaurentiis is here as well as José Andrés, Michael Chiarello and Tyler Florence, to name a few. I promise to share more about the F&W Classic next week. French Fridays with Dorie is an international cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table. To see how my colleagues skated through this week’s recipe choice, go here.
Capers, Cornichons & Brown Butter Sauce
6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/4 Cup Sherry Vinegar
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
12 cornichons, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
Put 6 tablespoons of butter into a skillet on medium heat. Cook the butter, swirling the pan, until it starts to turn a light brown. Add the vinegar and swirl again. Stir in the mustard, sliced cornichons and capers. Mix together.
Spoon sauce over the appropriate fish.