“Most of the famous French dishes involving filet of sole center around fish poached in white wine and coated with a lovely, creamy sauce made from the poaching liquid.”
Julia Child describes poaching fish fillets from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This month’s 5 Star Makeover theme is Cooking with Wine. We can choose any classic dish where wine is a major ingredient and put our own unique spin on it.
I re-created Julia Child’s Fish Filets Poached in White Wine and decided to present an icy, refreshing poached snapper dish surrounded with ice made from its poaching liquid, accompanied by a mushroom cream sauce, lemon zest, and scallions. For a light dish like poached fish, a low-tannin wine is most appropriate due to the lack of fat in this dish. Tannin and fattiness go hand in hand. So braised short ribs would go well with a bottle of Bordeaux or Cabernet, for example. In this case, I poached the fish in Pinot Grigio to avoid masking the light fish flavor with a high-tannin wine.
Fish Filets Poached in White Wine
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
- 2 tbsp of finely chopped green onions
- 2.5lbs of skinless, boneless red snapper fillets
- Salt and pepper
- 1.5 tbsp of butter cut into bits
- 1.5 cups of Pinot Grigio and water mixture
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 1 tbsp of flour
- A handful of small cremini mushrooms
- Lemon, for zesting
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a shallow fireproof baking dish that is about 2 inches deep.
- Sprinkle half of the scallions in the bottom of the dish. Season fillets with salt and pepper.
- Place fillets in dish and sprinkle remaining scallions over them, along with bits of butter.
- Pour in wine/water mixture until fish is barely covered.
- Bring dish almost to a simmer on stovetop. Lay a buttered paper over the fish, then bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove fish and set on a plate to cool, then refrigerate. Pour 2/3 of the poaching liquid into a shallow dish and freeze for at least 2 hours.
- Bring remaining poaching liquid to a boil on the stove and stir in 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp of flour, 1 tsp of salt, a dash of pepper, and mushrooms. Boil sauce down until thickened. Leave in fridge to cool.
- To serve, scrap poaching liquid ice with a fork. Place ice in a glass or bowl. Spoon a little bit of the mushroom sauce over the ice. Place a piece of fish over ice and sauce. Cover fish with more crushed ice. Sprinkle a little bit of lemon zest over the fish. Serve cold.