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from "A New Way to Cook" by Sally Schneider

This classic French method of braising fillets with shallots, wine, vermouth, and a small amount of butter cooks the fish gently and yields delicious juices, which you can transform easily into a satisfying sauce with a clear, concentrated flavor. This approach is endlessly mutable: You can add other flavorings, such as leeks, fennel, tomato, herbs, saffron, or other seasonings, to the basic braise. You can use different wines, such as Gewürztraminer or Riesling or even dry hard cider. You can also finish the pan juices in many different ways: Highly reduce them, then mellow them with crème fraiche and herbs, or finish the sauce with more exotic flavorings, such as curry paste and coconut milk.

This method works best for fillets or steaks from lean white-fleshed fish. To use this method for whole fish, use the proportions of liquid, vegetables, and seasonings given below per each 1 1/2 pounds of fish, multiplying them as necessary.

Serves 4

1 to 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots

Flavorings (optional), singly or in combination, such as:
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fennel or celery
  • 1/2 cup julienned leeks or carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons minced fresh herbs, such as tarragon, chives, or basil
  • Pinch of saffron, steeped in 1 tablespoon warm water for 10 minutes

1 1/2 pounds fish fillets or steaks, such as sole, flounder, baby halibut, orange roughy, tilapia, black bass, red snapper, skate, perch, mahi mahi, striped bass, or Chilean sea bass, with skin

Wine or hard cider, such as:
  • 3/4 cup Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, or Riesling
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine mixed with 3 tablespoons white vermouth
  • 3/4 cup very dry hard cider (11% to 13% alcohol; mix sweeter, less alcoholic ciders half and half with dry white wine)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

Print Print recipe

1.Preheat the oven to 400° F. Rub a flameproof baking dish just large enough to accommodate the fish in one layer with 1/2 teaspoon of the butter.
2.Scatter the shallots and any other flavorings over the bottom of the baking dish. (If the flavorings you wish to use are fibrous, such as fennel, celery, or leeks, cook them first: Place the dish over low heat and add 1/2 teaspoon more butter. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.)
3.Arrange the fish skin side down in the dish and drizzle with the wine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the dish over medium heat until the liquid just begins to simmer.
4.Rub the remaining 1/2 teaspoon butter over a piece of foil or parchment cut to fit over the casserole. Place the foil butter side down over the fish. Bake until the fillets are firm to the touch and opaque, figuring on about 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Fillets 1 inch or more thick may remain slightly translucent on top even though they are done. To test fillets for doneness, insert a two-pronged kitchen fork straight down into the thickest part of the flesh. The fish is done if the fork meets with no resistance. Because the fish keeps cooking after it has been taken out of the oven, it's best to slightly undercook it; it will finish cooking while it rests under the foil. Transfer the fish to a warm serving dish or four individual dinner plates and cover with foil to keep warm.
5.Place the baking dish over moderately high heat and boil to reduce the cooking liquids until they are slightly concentrated and any raw wine taste has cooked away. Stir in the cream, if using, and the herbs and correct the seasoning. Spoon some of the sauce over each portion of fish.
Note: If you wish to use a non-flameproof casserole made of ceramic or glass, use a flame tamer—a metal disk placed on the open flame—to keep the casserole from cracking.

Buy The Ingredients Use Snapper Use Sole
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Farm-Raised Tilapia Fillet - $9.99/lb
  Shallots - $2.99/ea
  Varanda do Conde Vinho Verde
This product is currently unavailable.
  Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream - $4.29/ea
 1 pint
Optional Ingredients
  Ocean Mist Farms Fennel - $2.79/ea
  Ocean Mist Farms Celery, Medium - $2.99/ea Save! 2 for $5.00
  Organic Leeks, Bunch - $4.99/ea Save! 2 for $9.00
  Cal-Organic Organic Carrots, Bag - $2.49/ea
  Plum Tomato, Large - $1.99/lb
  Baby Bella Mushrooms, Packaged - $3.99/ea
  Gotham Greens Local Basil - $3.99/ea
  Chives - $2.49/ea
  Tarragon - $1.99/ea
  Roland Pure Spanish Mancha Saffron
This product is currently unavailable.
You May Already Have
  Gefen Ground Black Pepper - $2.69/ea
  Morton's Coarse Kosher Salt - $2.99/ea
  Breakstone's All-Natural Unsalted Butter - $3.19/ea
 2ct, 4oz ea
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