How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Seafood Break and Brunch

The "break" part of our spring break is just the final three-day weekend, which we started with a couple of seafood meals -- a champagne-seabass dinner Thursday evening and a salmon brunch the next morning. We planned these meals when it seemed that Thursday would begin with a return to rowing in New Bedford harbor, where I usually stop by Kyler's Catch on my way.  Our whaleboats were still quite frozen in, but since the menu described below was already set, I took Gretel (our car) out for a spin.
Conditions precluded rowing, but I did go visit our boats on the way to the fishmonger.
For the dinner, we turned to An Appetite for Passion, which regular readers of this blog might recognize for the many Laura Esquivel citations we have made since purchasing it not long ago. For the recipe Sea Bass with Champagne and Grapes, I selected two large halibut filets at Kyler's, since the only sea bass on hand was frozen and rather puny for the price. The halibut was magnificent, though. This recipe requires poaching the fish with champagne (or equivalent sparkling wine), shallots, and lemon.
Food photography is fraught -- poached halibut tastes much better than it looks, but the sparkling wine was in a handsome bottle!
We used a very nice Blancs de Noirs from our favorite vineyard, after checking to make sure that we would not need the whole bottle. Using good wine in cooking is justified if the good wine can also be served with the meal, as it could in this case.

After poaching -- which I should have done for just a bit longer than the indicated 5 minutes, because these fillets were thick --the fish was set aside and some cream whisked into the wine until it reduced to a cream sauce. I used milk (because I had forgotten cream) and a little butter and flour instead. I then poured the sauce over the fish, along with halved white grapes and chopped hazelnut. I broiled this for a few minutes and the result was simply amazing. This paired perfectly with the wine used in cooking it.

We could not find any seafood brunch ideas in our go-to seafood books, so I took to the interwebs, where I found a recipe for salmon hash. We have never been disappointed in a hash recipe (see Franksgiving and Bean Hash, for two examples), so we decided to give this one a try. We followed the latest has recipe essentially as written, and we were not disappointed. We had a little bit of the Blancs de Noirs left over from the previous evening, so that the mimosas tied the two meals together.
Technically, any meal served between breakfast and lunch can be brunch, but the term really does imply mimosas!

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