Luckily none of you are currently sitting next to me right now because if you were you mistake me for a fisherman or my Tio Edgar. I smell of fish guts from head to toe and just had to scrape blood from under my nails. If I’ve just upset any of your stomachs, for all those toilets I apologize ahead of time. Fish was the lesson of the day and we prepared two different kinds. One was a fish baked in parchment paper and the other was sautéed trout (Grenoble style). Before we began preparing for our two main dishes, we had to take our second exam on the past couple of lessons. I’m pretty sure I rocked the boat on it, but won’t know my grade till tomorrow. Also, we had to prepare all of the vegetable and side dishes that accompanied our first dish- the fish baked in parchment paper. Now, I know I bring up Benihanna’s quite frequently, but I mean that place is ingenious bringing the kitchen out live in front of its guests. Anyways, my grandma used to order the vegetables that were cooked inside of the parchment paper on the hot top. However, I wish I had paid more attention to that demonstration, but instead I was too busy stealing raw mushrooms off the cart. I couldn’t ask Garrett how the chef assembled the parchment paper technique, because he was too busy throwing ice on the hot stove and making it steam up like a volcano. The point is I should have been paying attention to the chef because baking in parchment paper just came back into my life.
Chef Jeff is still on vacation probably dipping his toes in the Atlantic Ocean for all I know. We had another replacement- Chef Rodger who had one of the heaviest French accents I’ve ever heard. He was real stern with us, even took Carlos and Xandra’s phones away because he saw them texting (how he didn’t confiscate mine I HAVE NO IDEA! I thought my texting skills stick out worse than a big black transvestite walking into the VIP party at the Kentucky Derby). Chef Rodger demonstrated how to fillet the fish. Again, had I been paying attention ALL those times I watched my Tio Edgar or Baba filleting fish off our dock in the Keys, I would have been cruising down easy street. But no, I was too busy trying the sashimi or running straight into the pool off the boat. Now, I am in class watching the chef wishing that it was my Tio teaching me how to fillet it his way.
Anyways, two cuts on my finger later, I fileted my bass! (What?! What?!). My partner Julie was busy cutting the celery, leeks, and carrots Julienne and I took over the tomato fondue (chunky tomatoes sweated down with shallots/garlic/spices until it becomes all mushy into a fondue). I was really careful not to burn my tomatoes because I have several times in the past. Julie made the mushroom duxelles (sautéed lemon mushrooms with shallots). Both the tomatoes and mushrooms are used to bake under the fish. We then used parchment paper and added to it a clump of tomato fondue, a clump of mushroom duxelle, then the fillet of bass on top (taking out the pin bones was a hot mess), then the cooked julienne veggies, some wine, salt, pepper, lemon, and then we sealed the parchment, so that it could bake in the oven. After 4 minutes, we had to poke a hole in the paper, then let it cook for another 3 minutes. It came out so beautifully and tasted marhhhhhvelously (This is for you Stephen to get used to those Boston accents).
We got to eat our fish for lunch! But, that’s not all, we were also given both meat lasagna and vegetable lasagna. Why I felt the urge to try both on top of my fish is beyond me, but when you attend culinary school, you have to try everything. Again there I go following my motto “go big or go home”, so I dug right in.
After lunch, we made our second fish dish, which was the sautéed trout. Trout is slimmer and smaller than bass, so for me it was easier to fillet. We watched Chef’s demo and then quickly went back to our station to get down to business. Here I am trying to look like a bada$$ filleting my fish, but the blue band aide on my finger is just killing my credibility as a filleting monster. I look more like an amateur than anything.
Before this picture was taken, I had to tournage 8 potatoes (I kind of only did 5 because I beat the system by having chef teach me the correct way... by doing this every time he would teach me to tournage, he would just tournage my potatoes for me without even noticing hahaha shhhh don’t tell him my trick- genius, I know). We then cut our fillets in half and put flour on the skin side to sautée them in the pan. Once they were crispy and brown, I flipped it over for the other side to cook. In the meantime, Julie made the croutons for us and we each had to make our own burnt butter sauce (not so much burnt, more like brown). We drizzled it over the potatoes and fish, added capers, and here you have it… sautéed trout (Grenoble style)…
Today was real fishy, but tomorrow will be even fisher. We are cooking flounder! If anyone knows how to wipe the nasty fishy smell off my hands, let me know pretty please with a cherry on top!