Day 43: Total Fish Failure

I came into class today feeling really on top of today’s recipe: Skate with a butter-caper sauce. I mean, I should’ve been prepared since I walked into class two days ago thinking I was going to make fish.

The dish breaks down into three main components–all of which I thought I had under the table: Fish (skate); meurniere sauce; and boiled potato cocottes.

The only smooth success I had was filleting the skate. This round fish has scary sharp spikes that cover the lower half of the body. It’s shaped like a sea shell, but is covered in thorn-like spikes just aching to slice open your finger. Once I freed the flesh from the skin, I moved on to turning my potatoes into cocottes. I thought I’d be able to bang out 12 in about 20 minutes, but it took me about 45. Then when I boiled them, a quarter of the potatoes cracked in half. Mon dieu.

I didn’t think pan frying my skate would give me any issues, but I used clarified butter and didn’t realize if it gets too hot, any protein will stick to the pan. So my fish looked mangled and half eaten by the time I scraped it off the pan. Luckily, I was able to salvage my last fillet and present it to Chef…seven minutes late (just look at the picture).

Chef Alain assessing today’s amuse bouches

TIP OF THE DAY: Reserve clarified butter for toasting croutons in a skillet. When frying fish, use a vegetable oil like canola rather than clarified butter.

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