Three words: Flounder Your Way. At around 2 am last night, I woke up and all I remember is that I was thinking about how I was going to make this darn dish. Images were spinning around in my head, hot flashes were coming on strong, I was panicking and forced myself to wake up. Can you say anxiety central? I don’t know why, but I was anxious to get it over with. Maybe it was because I was working alone on a recipe that I had NEVER made before or the fact we had a cooking time limit, but in the end it was all good because I came through in the clutch.
After reading the recipes that some of you sent me and google-ing on line, I came up with my own rendition of Flounder with a lemon apple butter sauce along with pomme puree (mashed potatoes) and sautéed garlic spinach and mushrooms. I typed up my recipe like the good schoolgirl I am and gathered the available ingredients chef had provided for us. We also were able to choose which plate we wanted to use! I went with the square one because it caught my eye first! And you know what they say, always go with your first instinct (unless you judge a book by its cover and it ends up proving you wrong). First, chef did his fillet demo on the flat fish and then per usual we went back to our stations to follow suit. For our Level 2 final on Monday (gasp!), we will have to fillet the flatfish in under 15 minutes. So, today I timed myself and finished under 10 and was the first one done! (Cha-ching!)
Being the first one done gave me the opportunity to make a mad dash to the ingredients! I grabbed whatever I needed as quickly as I could and started working on my dishes and prepping the vegetables. I knew the potatoes would take the longest, so I started cooking those first. I then heated up the milk and heavy cream to add my pureed potatoes along with salt/pepper, some Parmesan cheese, and a little garlic… oh and obviously a decent amount of butter. After my potatoes were done, I began to work on my sautéed spinach and mushrooms. Half way through making them I realized I forgot to add the garlic. So in a panic, I rapidly began to chop them up like a mad woman and tossed them in. Then I realized I wanted to grate some Parmesan cheese on top, so I went to the cabinet and took out the cheese grater. Well, I was stationed at an island with Daniel and our area was a hot mess. Utensils were everywhere, bowls of prepped veggies, little cups of chopped herbs all around, you get the point. Well, as I go to place the grater on my board, it decides to land on the end of a big spatula spoon that was along side a cup of chopped herbs that went flying into the air all over Daniel’s station. Picture a blob where on person is on the bottom of the inflated tube and the other jumps from the top of a diving board onto the other end of the inflated tube causing the one at the opposite side to shoot into the water--- yeah that’s what happened with my grater and the herbs… ALL OVER DANIEL! I was dying laughing, but had to stay focused because I had a lot of serious work to do because the kitchen is a serious place. Chef was less than pleased.
After that minor disaster, I began to sauté the spinach and mushrooms, and began prepping my fillets. Thank the lord I had 4 fillets because I obviously somehow cannot figure out when the pan is hot enough to place the fillets on in order for them not to stick. The first two stuck to the pan like the song “Call me Maybe” stuck to your brain when it first came out. The sous chef in the kitchen was freaking out, I was calm but I didn’t need him right next to me breathing down me! Like dude- I know I messed up now MOVE out of my way… you aren’t helping me in the sightless bit. Then he accused me of rolling my eyes at him. First of all, I didn’t roll my eyes at you, but if I did I must have gotten it from my Liberty City girls I used to teach. Say Hey! Well, my second two flounders turned out all pretty and everything. But, I was panicking because the plates were due in 5 minutes. I had yet to reheat my sautéed vegetable and my fish was still a light brown color and I needed it to get to gold! Plating wasn't even an option any time soon. Oh man- now my gears began kicking into full throttle. At this point, Daniel finished so I am using one of his stovetops to sauté my veggies while flipping my fish over. Finally, within two minutes, I hurried my behind up and plated my masterpiece. That was stress central! I don’t know how it all came together, but it did and now I would like one of you to pay for my happy hour tab. I’m only kidding- going to Zumba to dance off my madness.
We then all lined up our plates and had to present them in front of the whole class. As soon as I began, all dramatic and presentational etc., Chef in his French accent says, “ oh wow, you’ll be great on TV”. Hahaha thanks Chef--- so you’re saying I have a chance? In the afternoon, we worked in teams to create a “menu” for our make believe restaurant, which was fun! Tomorrow we have a wine tasting day- ALL DAY! I am NOT complaining… just going to need some crest white strips to get my teeth all pearly again from the red wine staining them. I ain’t got no worries!
From NYC to your local phone or computer—te amo,