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quenelle.JPGFrench foods are back in style, finally! Our historically-French city now has several French restaurants: Brasserie and Chez Leon (their chefs teach cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory), plus Atlas, Cafe Provencal, Franco, and Pomme. Julia Child would be so happy that we are rediscovering her favorite foods (only two spots are available for our Julia class starting on May 6).

Let’s revisit a classic and delicious French dish: quenelles, which is poached fish mousse, usually served in a sauce of lobster bisque. To see and taste this sublime concoction, join our favorite French chef, Jean-Pierre Auge, who will be teaching how to make quenelles in lobster sauce on April 17.

Fish Quenelles in Lobster Sauce
for the sauce:

  • 1 lobster
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • salt, pepper, cayenne, bay, thyme
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ to 1 cup heavy cream

Bring two inches of water to a boil and steam the lobster (after removing the rubber bands), covered, for 3 minutes. Remove and cool in ice water. Reserve the lobster water. Shell the lobster, saving the meat for another use, and smash the shells with a meat pounder. Put the shells back into the water and simmer the shells for 30 minutes. Strain through a chinois.      

To roast the pepper, put directly on a burner or grill and cook on high until blackened. Put the pepper in a bowl and cover until cool. Remove the skin and seeds and dice the pulp. Saute the onion, celery, and pepper in butter until clear, about 10 minutes.

Season well with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Add the garlic and flour, then sherry, bay leaf, and sprig of thyme. Add the carrots, tomatoes and enough lobster stock to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, until the carrots are soft.

Puree the sauce in a food processor or blender (after removing the thyme and bay leaf) and strain. Return to the stove and, if necessary, thin with more lobster stock. Add heavy cream to taste and correct the seasonings. If desired, garnish with a fresh herb, such as tarragon.

For the fish:

  • 1 pound white fish or scallops
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • Salt, white pepper, cayenne
  • 1-2 quarts fish stock

In a food processor, puree the fish. Add the whites and cream in a stream and season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne. In a wide saute pan, heat the stock to just under the boiling point. Form the fish into oval scoops and poach in seasoned fish stock, turning once, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with sauce.