Pike Quenelles with Sauce Nantua

(Serves 6)


2 T oil

½ lb. Crawfish tails (defrosted if frozen)

8 T Unsalted butter

1 Medium shallot, chopped

½ t Tomato paste

2 T Cognac

1½ C Fish or shellfish stock

1 C Heavy cream

⅔ lb. Skinless Pike fillet, cut in 1 inch pieces

1 t Salt

1 Large egg white

⅛ t Pepper

4-6 Scrapes of nutmeg

  1. To make the crawfish butter:  In 1 T oil, cook crawfish for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Melt the butter.  In a food processor, blend still warm crawfish with melted butter until as smooth as possible.  Set aside.
  2. To make quenelles:  Process pike, egg white, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until smooth. Slowly pour in very cold cream with the processor running.  Chill for at least 2 hours, and up to 1 day.
  3. To make the Sauce Nantua:  In a medium saucepan, sauté the shallot in remaining oil until soft but not browned.  Add tomato paste, and cook stirring for another minute.  Add cognac, and allow to reduce until almost dry.  Add fish stock, raise the heat and simmer until reduced to ¾ C.
  4. Remove from the heat and swirl in ½ C reserved crawfish butter.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing hard on the solids.  Pour cream mixture through the solids again to extract even more flavor.  Set aside.  This makes approximately 1 cup of VERY rich sauce.
  5. To shape the quenelles: Using 2 large soup spoons dipped in cold water, pass heaping spoons of mixture back and forth to create the traditional shape.  Place on waxed paper, or a lightly oiled sheet pan.  Chill for 10 minutes.
  6. Bring a wide pot of salted water to a simmer.  Carefully place quenelles in barely simmering water. Poach for 8 minutes.  Remove quenelles.  Reheat the sauce, and add quenelles. 2 per serving. Serve on warmed plates.  Add a bit more sauce on top.


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