If you ever want to make a decent sauce for fish that isn’t parsley, try this. It is supposed to have mussels in it, with the mussel juice adding to the sauce. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any fresh! It doesn’t make too much difference, but adds another layer to the sauce and another fish (mollusc)to the finished plate. I have used lobster and scallops, but any combination of fish will work. You just need some shells(see below) for the stock.
Sauce: Lobster Shell( if not using, peel 400g of the little in-shell prawns you can get,keep shells eat prawns as you peel, they’re great.) 300g Mussels/ 75ml Brandy/ 300ml white wine/ 450ml fish stock/ 100g carrots/ 100g onions/ 1 small fennel bulb/ 450g tomatoes/ 1tbsp tomato purée/ 1tsp fennel seeds./ 2 cloves garlic.
Fish: Any good selection you fancy. It is supposed to be an extravagant dish so try to get a lobster, but a nice chunk of cod would be fine.
Fondant Potatoes: 1 large waxy potato/ garlic/ thyme/ pinch saffron/ 75g butter/ 50ml oil/ enough chicken stock to cover.
Carrot Purée: 300g carrots/ chicken stock/ garlic/ cream.
1) However your lobster arrived, take it out of its shell and store the meat in the fridge. Get your prawn shells ready with the lobster shells.
2) Place the mussels in a large pan that has a tight fitting lid. Turn up the heat, pour in half the white wine, cover and steam for 3-4mins. Discard any mussels that don’t open. Remove the remainder from their shells, reserve six per portion.
3) Keep the juice from the mussels, in the same pan then sweat all the vegetables( chopped finely, apart from tomatoes) together with the prawn and lobster shells. Cook until the shells colour. Add the brandy and let reduce to a syrup, add the rest of the wine and mussel juice. Reduce this by half then add tomato purée. Cook for a couple of mins. Now add fish stock, tomatoes, fennel seeds. Cook until the sauce reduces by half, strain the liquid back into the pan and continue to reduce until it goes glossy. Add a couple knobs of butter to help finish the sauce off. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4) Cook the fondant potatoes as per the lesson.
5) For the carrots, cook slowly in simmering chicken stock and garlic,30mins. Transfer to a processor and purée with the cream. If you want a really smooth purée, pass through a sieve. I didn’t on this occasion.
6) To serve, warm mussels and lobster through in the sauce. Cook scallops for 30s a side in a separate pan.
Place the lobster on top of a potato, with a line of purée running to it. Carefully pour sauce around the sides of purée, add mussels symmetrically on the sauce, with scallops as you like. For a little extra decadence I had some spare garlic butter in he fridge which I placed on top of the lobster.