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Recipes in Quarterly 3/2009


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Spring is in the air and its time to start planning for the coming fish season. In Finland the time just after the ice breaks up is great for gillnetting; in Seattle the halibut season starts around March 22. Remember: freshness is a prerequisite for preparing any kind of fish dish. If the fish or the store smells fishy- don’t bother. For starters, it’s time to replenish the fish stock in the freezer. Fish stock is a basic ingredient in a multitude of fish recipes, some of which we will discuss here. We have published our stock recipe before, however here it is again.


Fish Stock

4 l of water (1 USG)
2 kg (4 Lbs) fish bones, heads, trimmings
200 g (1/2 Lbs) yellow onions, sliced
200 g (1/2 Lbs) leeks, sliced
100 g (1/4 Lbs) carrots, diced
5 Parsley sprigs
2 Sprigs of thyme
25-30 g unsalted butter

For fish bones select for instance halibut, rock cod, lingcod, red snapper (abborre, gös, sik, flundra). Rinse bones well 10 minutes under cold, running water. Melt butter in a stock pot over a medium heat and let the vegetables sweat there for 10 minutes (do not let the onion brown). Add the fish bones and trimmings and water just barely covering the fish bones. Heat up and when the stock comes to a boil, carefully remove the scum from the surface. Add the parsley and thyme sprigs and simmer for one hour. Strain the fish stock and press down firmly to remove any juices. Optionally: Return the pot and evaporate 1/4- 1/3 of the contents. Let cool. Freeze stock in one pint plastic containers. You can also pour some stock into ice-cube trays, freeze, then store in plastic bags to be used for fish sauces.

Sautéed fish filets

To serve 4

1½ Lbs (750 g) rock cod, lingcod, halibut, abborr-, or flounder filets
½ cup (125 ml) of fish stock
4 Tbsp Nolly Prat vermouth or dry white wine
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
White pepper and salt to taste

In a large non-stick skillet heat the stock, wine and butter to boiling. Place the filets in the skillet and cover. As soon as the filets are done (five minutes or less, use your calibrated fingertip as gauge), lift them onto a preheated dish and cover with parchment paper and newspaper to keep warm. Briskly boil the stock remaining in the skillet until it has reduced to about ½ cup. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish fillet and serve immediately for instance with boiled red potatoes and boiled leeks.

Fish Sauce

To serve 4

Place 4 Tbsp (1/2 dl) of fish stock, 8 Tbsp (1 dl) of Nolly Prat vermouth and 4 Tbsp dry white wine in a skillet and reduce to about 4 Tbsp (1/2 dl). Remove from the heat and mix in 8 oz (225 g) cold butter in small increments. Heat up and season with salt and pepper. Serve with grilled or pan fried fish filets.

Boiled leeks

Remove the root and green. Cut the top layer of the leaks lengthwise and inspect for soil residue. Rinse if needed. Place the top layer back and bind the leek ends with kitchen twine. Place leeks in lightly salted water boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes, or until soft when pierced with a toothpick.

French inspired fish soup

To serve 6

3 pints (1.5 l) of fish stock
1.5 Lbs (750 g) fresh fish filets (rock cod, lingcod, halibut, flundra, gös, abborre)
4 sprigs of bulb fennel
2-4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
4-6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced (optional)
Rind of orange peel from ½ orange

Cut the filets in bite size chunks and place in a large bowl (with the potatoes, if you elect to have them), two fennel sprigs, two sliced tomatoes, some saffron and orange peel rind. Add some salt, freshly ground pepper and sprinkle on some olive oil. Mix well and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to marinate. In a large saucepan, heat up one Tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the flesh of 1-2 tomatoes, two crushed garlic cloves, one bay leaf, two sprigs of chopped fennel, 1 Tbsp freshly grated orange peel, some saffron, salt and freshly ground pepper and cook for five minutes. Add the hot fish stock and simmer 15 minutes. Strain the stock. Return the stock to the saucepan and set aside until the fish filets are marinated. Bring the stock to a boil. Add the potato and the marinade juice to the stock but not the fish, and boil for five minutes, or until the potato is almost done. Now add the fish and boil 4-5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with garlic toast and grated cheese if you like.

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