I have now moved on to writing about the "Fish course" in my current book - The Thousand Dollar Dinner. As part of the research for this chapter, I stumbled upon this interesting recipe in a charming little cookbook called Fish by Jean-Paul Grappe, a chef originally from Dijon, France who is the author of eight cookbooks and now lives in Montreal, Quebec. I was charmed by the presentation: a ramekin is lined with brook trout, then stuffed with scallop mousse and topped with two plump sea scallops. Plus, I had never seen trout paired with scallops - just thought it sounded so good. I rounded out the meal with some peppery sautéed mustard greens and pearled tricolor couscous. A bottle of Monsieur Touton Sauvignon Blanc complemented it nicely.
- 4 small trout fillets (I used rainbow trout)
- Salt and ground white pepper
- 10 oz scallops (little over 1/2 pound)
- 1/2 egg white
- 2/3 cup cream
- 1/4 cup soft, unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups white butter (see recipe below)
- 1/2 drop vanilla
- 2 cloves garlic
- 10 cups spinach leaves (or any green - I used mustard greens)
- Using the flat bade of a large knife, gently flatten the fillets until large enough to contain the scallop mousse. Set aside. (I didn't really have to do this as the fillets I bought were already flat and thin).
- Wipe the scallops and place in a food processor. Add salt and pepper. Blend 30 seconds; add egg white and cream. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Butter ramekins well using a pastry brush. Sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper and flatten against the inside edges of the ramekins. Fill centers with scallop mousse. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 310 F
- Pour 4 cups water in a large jellyroll or broiling pan. Arrange ramekins in pan and bake until they reach 155 F in the center. While baking, prepare vanilla white butter.
- To cook greens, spray a skillet with some olive oil and sauté garlic for about a minute, then add greens. Cook for a minute or until they start to wilt, then add scallops and sauté on one side of pan.
- Serve greens alongside the ramekins with some pearled couscous and the vanilla white butter in a separate sauce dish.
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp white wine
- salt and white pepper
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
NOTE: Always add the salt and pepper before the butter so the acidity of the wine and lemon juice dissolve the salt before the butter is added. It is important to make the white butter at the last minute since it is very fragile and must be served immediately. A half drop of vanilla complements the flavor of the dish.
Adapted from Fish by Jean-Paul Grappe