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Flounder "Your Way" Challenge!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hello!

 

In about 2 weeks, we have a challenge in school known as Flounder "Your Way" where it's supposed to incorporate everything we've learned till then. While I still have over a dozen lessons to go till that challenge, I need to start thinking and perfecting this item.

 

The challenge is basically that we have to fillet and cook a flounder, for 4 people from a recipe that we made up. There is food costing and other things involved as well, so there is a lot more going on than just what is on the plate even. We will have the whole day, 6 hours, to complete the dish. We will ask for items ahead of time, and as a class, we will choose 5 more items. 

 

I picture a piece of seared fish in the middle of a clear broth with minimal veg garnish. The problem is I can't think of flavor combinations or a starch. It's be visually appealing, but I want to try to come up with something creative for the flavors, but I really don't know well enough about that. I'd also like to try to incorporate veg of the season if possible.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions? Or just dishes you enjoy eating? Any help is greatly appreciated!

post #2 of 21

Flat fish fabricate kind of weird, you're going to end up with 2 bigger fillets and 2 smaller ones, and the ventral fillets are going to be a bit uneven compared to the dorsal fillets because of the gills and gut cavity.

 

Pick something that uses fumet. You're going to have a perfectly good carcass, and utilization is always important.

 

 

post #3 of 21

Get a good French cook book and look up Filet of Sole" Veronique "as well as "Bonne Femme.".Sole is a flounder flat bottem fish, and these recipes lend them selves quite well . They are both classic recipes and are real good and hard to mess up. Good Luck

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #4 of 21

A true fillet knife, thin,flex, is best with flounder. If you don't own one, borrow ahead and get is as sharp as possible. Bottom first.

Some will disagree but if you're thinking searing I would split the belly and top in two. So each person gets a piece of both. I really think there is a difference in flavor and texture. Probably cleaned 342 million as a kid.LOL good luck. You really get a whole day?

I'm assuming it's summer flounder, keep that puppy ice cold and away from moisture.

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post #5 of 21

I have always liked a Crab stuffed Sole Bearnaise idea, it would give the person to chance to show case the Fish, stuffing and a sauce and also be creative with presentation....................ChefBillyB

post #6 of 21
To be very blunt, "Cooked simply and presented in a light, clear broth" sounds incredibly boring. What are you going to pair it with, a small glass of water, no ice? Don't take this too hard, you're a student. But besides taste, I also have to wonder about texture. Why would you create a crust of any sort by searing, than get it soggy by presenting it in soup? Moral of the story: Don't confuse magazine cover presentation/food styling with actual food.

Even though the various small soles are flounders, "flounder" and small soles are different. Don't know that I'd try to make flounder in any way which is particularly associated with sole or any very thin fish.

Flounder is about as versatile as a fish gets and does a lot of things well. You can make a very spicy soup with the cheeks, Korean style; grill it, smoke it; deep fry it; "carpaccio," terrine of halibut mousse, quenelles, just about anything. Also worth noting, flounder skin crisps well and is as palatable and delicious as just about any fish skin.

The halibut fin muscle -- called engawa in Japanese -- is very interesting. It's not well known (in the US at least). It's thinner, a bit firmer and slightly less fishy than the rest of the halibut, which wasn't fishy at all to begin with. If you're skilled enough to take it, it's a delicacy which can be prepared in any of the same ways as any other part of the fish -- except for poaching or soup.

Most western cooks like a very flexible knife for smaller flat fish. I don't particularly, but that's neither here nor there. If the halibut you get to work with is mid size or bigger, that's not particularly important. What does matter with all fish is approaching them with a sharp edge and a great deal of confidence. If you cut too slowly, making lots of little cuts instead of just cutting the darn fish, you'll leave a ragged, almost furry surface. Not good. Not good at all. You want glass smooth. Go very sharp and go very fast, even it means some extra waste.

If you can cut, you might consider doing some very, very thin sashimi. If you can't go really thin, either don't do it at all, or use the engawa.

When properly cooked, which is a bit more done than salmon should be, halibut gets light, tender and somewhat fluffy. That's the done point. Texture is cooked flounder's most attractive point, because otherwise it's somewhat boring.

If it were my test, I'd do an "Iron Chef" presentation with Halibut served several ways. Unless you're catching your own fish or cooking for hundreds of covers, 6 hours is a ridiculous amount of time to spend on one dish. So, my menu would look along the lines of:

  • App: Blini with smoked halibut, garnished with salmon roe and herbed creme fraiche, served with a micro-green salad; and spicy tequila/oyster shooter.
    Soup: Jamaican style "Fish Tea" (gives you a chance to make and use a fumet, make sure to control the spice level by brewing a whole habanero or scotch bonnet, don't cut it up.)
  • First: Halibut Three Ways, Asian Style -- Tempura halibut with tempura "fry-cut" potatoes (aka mini Japanese fish and chips), Cooked Engawa Sushi (with a dab of hoisin sauce), Sashimi with minced garlic-chive and lemon zest; lemon/cucumber soju cocktail.
  • Cleanser: Pink grapefruit/mint sorbet.
  • Second: Pan seared halibut with crispy skin and Nantais sauce (holds so much better than beurre blanc), on a bed of roasted mashed root veg, garnished with steamed broccolini; and a crisp sparkler (like Schramsberg Blanc de Noir).

By now you get the idea. These aren't so much particular menu suggestions as a way of visualizing a menu. You have your own strengths and weaknesses, and should use them.

BDL
Edited by boar_d_laze - 9/16/11 at 10:45am
post #7 of 21

"Most western cooks like a very flexible knife for smaller flat fish. I don't particularly, but that's neither here nor there. If the halibut you get to work with is mid size or bigger, that's not particularly important. What does matter with all fish is approaching them with a sharp edge and a great deal of confidence. If you cut too slowly, making lots of little cuts instead of just cutting the darn fish, you'll leave a ragged, almost furry surface. Not good. Not good at all. You want glass smooth. Go very sharp and go very fast, even it means some extra waste."

  Well i guess we disagree again. Whereever that was on the internet was mouthed by someone who has not cleaned many flat fish. I really don't agree with waste is ok.

lol.gifpeace.gifWhat's a western cook?

 

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post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

TinCook: Yes! That's why I wanted to do a broth, to use the carcass to make a fumet! I'd get major notice for that.

 

Chefedb: Thanks! I'll look into those! We didn't do those dishes, so I am unfamiliar with them at the moment, but I will definitely check them out!

 

Panini: Got one! :D

 

BoardLaze: No offense taken lol, but the only reason I wanted to incorporate clear broth was bc it was an important technique that we learned and I would like to showcase. The reason for the seared fish is for the texture, yes, but also so I can control the fish more than if it was baked en papillote. Yes, I do know there is a difference bw magazine cover and what is actual real life, but I am a student still as you pointed out lol, and the assignment is to showcase very basic techniques we have learned so far. In the coming lessons prior to that, we will do pastry puffs, dough and pasta. If any of those help in suggestions, lay 'em on me!

 

There is nothing wrong with simple as long as it is executed perfectly, IMHO at least and I want to showcase technique, not wow them with some crazy concoction that I have no idea about. 

Awesome menu ideas btw! But it's only an entree we need to do an they specified no sashimi. They want use to utilize all 6 hours to display and execute the technique we have learned. It's a challenge sure, but not of Iron Chef calibur. We're only on Level 2 though. ;)

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

The knife I have came with the kit from school. It's flexible and I will be sure to have it super sharp for the challenge. Waste will not be ok for this bc they will be looking at the carcass. Food costing is part of it all too, and you'd never hire a butcher that thought waste was ok BUT they are also looking for glass smooth which is where the confidence and long strokes come into play.

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Waste will not be okay...
Make a fumet. Use it as the base for a soup -- as for the "fish tea" I mentioned, a spicy Korean style fish stew, a gumbo (but hold the okra, unless you know they like it), etc.

You can also use a little fumet (highly reduced in some vinegar or wine) to give interest to a sauce; with squid ink in a pasta sauce; add some to chicken stock and make a risotto. Clarify the fumet, chill with gelatin, and use as aspic garnish for fish quenelle (aka gefilte fish), or a a slice of flounder mousse terrine

Before using the head, tail and bones for fumet... Scrape the excess meat off the carcass using a spoon, mince and chill. Mix with minced scallion tops and a little mayo thinned with lime juice, to which some wasabi flavored roe has also been added. Mound it on a small serving plate, use your thumb to make an indentation and crack a raw quail egg into the indentation. Flounder Tartar -- aka Negi-Hirame.

Think like a chef, and for God's sake don't be boring.

BDL
Edited by boar_d_laze - 9/16/11 at 9:06pm
post #11 of 21

Take a normal spoon and scrape the fish frame and get the scraps of meat clinging in the nooks and stuff. Don't forget the cheeks. Used to do this with salmon, to make stuff like croquttes, cakes, spicy salmon sushi.

 

I'd take the scrapings, along with the trim from the fillet, and use it for a farce.

post #12 of 21

What about using a spoon to scrape the carcass?

How many cheeks do flounder have?

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post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by panini View Post

What about using a spoon to scrape the carcass? That's how you get the meat off...

How many cheeks do flounder have? Only 2, flounder are notoriously lacking in the buttock dept.



 

post #14 of 21

I have a few questions;

- are you using flounder, which is just one particular member of the flatfish family, or do you use the name flounder in the US as a general name for many other flatfish? I just ask because people in this thread seem to suppose you're using halibut or sole which are very different from thé flounder???

- from what I read so far, I just presume you need to fillet the fish yourself and skin it (dark skin only?)

- I also understand you're going to be judged on the cooking skills you've been taught and are expected to have assimilated. This is very important as it can ristrict the way you can present your dish.

 

My guess -without knowing for sure- is that the chef will be looking for;

a. Are you able to fillet the fish properly (which includes taking off the skin).

b. Can you prepare a fish stock or fumet from the bones and head (you may have learned to remove the eyes and gills!).

c. Are you expected to prepare a sauce using fish stock or fumet?

d. Are you expected to prepare a fillet without it falling apart; what technique(s) have you learned so far that are allowed (do they expect searing or poaching... )

e. Obviously, key point will be how your "cuisson" is; exactly right not dry or undercooked.

f. Are you expected to use other ingredients without overpowering the taste of the fish? I would consider this extremely important!

 

I included a few videos, hoping you can play them. They are about filleting "schar" or "bot", the dutch name for flounder. I'm not even sure they are exactly the same, I'm not such a fish specialist at all.

- How wholesalers/fishmongers do it; http://www.visfileren.nl/index.php?Itemid=120

- How a very good cook does it; http://www.njam.tv/recepten/stoofpotje-van-bot-met-savooi-en-spek and this one http://www.njam.tv/recepten/salade-met-schar

 

post #15 of 21

Chris,

Unless things have changed flounder is not sole or haddock. When flounder was plenty on the east coast we did get a run of large flounder we called snowshoe although not haddock.Fluke, no big teeth.

Your're spot on though. Especially in cleaning. A lot of people go outside-in when cleaning sole or haddack. Doesn't work with flounder. Dorsal out. I do want to say that my experience is with east cold/warm flounder. Worked the small boats for summers. 3 of us would clean at least 3 garbage cans full before wash down and dock. That's where the money was. Best recipe was in the galley. Brown butter seared with lemon salt and white pepper and crushed half way hot cherry peppers. Vinegar bottle on the side.

The  family had a seafood rest. in Conn for ever.

 

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post #16 of 21

I have never nor do I know anyone who has ever caught a Sole Fish.?  Have purchased grey sole, but never saw whole one. One of the most difficult fish to clean is Dover Sole also one of most costly. Skin rips down and off by hand but it takes some strength to do . Second most difficult for me was Real Chilian Sea Bass because bones went in many directions at the same time.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #17 of 21

Ed, over here we have a lot of different flatfish caught in regional waters. Regional has to be interpreted a bit, fishermen sometimes do a lot of "kilometers" to catch fish.

Don't know all of the english names but in dutch they sound like pladijs (looks like flounder with orange dots), griet, bot, schar (flounder), tarbot, tong (sole), etc.

The largest tarbot -aka turbot in english- is only offered to restaurants. They seem to be the best and are always sold gutted but never filleted. Smaller turbot go to fishmongers for selling to the public and are quite pricey, well, all good fresh fish is pricey over here.

You can have the freshest daily caught sole in the fish stands in Ostend. They fillet them entirely in you ask nicely, but most regularly they cut the head and only skin the whole fish while you're watching. In this case, you have a ready to prepare fish on the bone, and,  only the upper dark skin is taken off. The white belly skin stays on mostly.

Same with most good fishmongers; you buy the whole fish and they fillet them for you.

 

And yes to panini's suggestion; quote; "Brown butter seared with lemon salt and white pepper "

I absolutely love small whole flatfish, fried in excellent browned butter, on the bone, just darkskin removed, turned in flour; "meunière" as they say! No other preparation can beat that...

post #18 of 21

The Skippers used to tell us a Flounder can be a Sole but a Sole can't be a Flounder. A silly retail word for anything flat.

We used to run into these flats we called sun dials. You hold them up to the sun and they were transparent. Everyone said

they were not for eating. We had a Finlandian Chef that had a chowder house on the water that would give us 25 buks a buchel when we had them. He

told us they made the tastiest soup stock.

I wish I had the appreciation for fish back then. We used to spearfish the very large snowshoe Flounders in the peirs. When people saw my buddies spray painted orange and green van,

they  would just wait for us to come out. They were always sold before we hit the beach. Funny though, only got them on Monday mornings. We kinda figured out that as the shipping lanes got recreational traffic during the weekend they would slowly move in. Never new. The only difference was cover and black fish (tautog). Shoot a 35lb+ er and have some fun. They basically had a human jaw and teeth.eek.gif

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post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 

ChrisBelgium: Thank you for actually understanding what it is that I am saying! I do believe I am expected to make a fumet out of the carcass and eventually a sauce from it I suppose. We have don searing, in sauce, and en papillote.. a couple more things I can't remember lol. I know they would love a "mixed" cooking method btw. The fish should definitely be the star of the dish.  

 

BDL: LOL! I don't know what you're thinking, but I don't have an entire Whole Foods market or an unlimited budget to do this on lol. Like I have said a couple of times, I am only Level 2, and also have no experience with aspic or gelatin (aside from Bavarian Creme) and would appreciate if you do respond, to actually pay attention to what is the point of the challenge. They also specified that tartar and sashimi would be a cop-out and they expect us to actually cook the dish. Squid Ink pasta? Raw Quail egg? I understand you want to show off, but don't insult me (again) bc I want to actually get an A and do what they asked of me with the ingredients that I can actually get lol. Simple, classic French techniques executed well with a personal twist. Period. 

 

 

Yes everyone, a flatfish flounder! :D

 

I am thinking of some sort of spice rub for the fish.. but don't want to go nutty with ingredients I am not familiar with, and want to keep the classic French influence there. A la Menurie is absolutely delicious, that was cool that you mentioned it ChrisB! A la Grenoblaise is the extension of it (we made that too) and that was a revelation to me lol! I'd love to do something along those lines, but special.. A la Jennifer lol! 

 

 

 

post #20 of 21

So, you're Jennifer, the future lady chef.

I could give you a complete description of a dish as I see it, but I won't do it. It's gotta be a Jennifer dish. I'm sure there's a lot of people who mean well over here who can help you in many ways. So, don't hesitate to ask. Just for what it's worth, here's a little advice;

 

You may already know a lot of this;

- It's a competition. Keep your dish to yourself. It's your little secret. We have a saying in my country; when you're explaining your business to others, you're probably tired of making a profit...

- Accept you're going to be very nerveous. Everyone else will be, it's a normal thing. Just get on with your plan and focus.

- Make a plan with "to do" things and a timetable, print it and use it! It will settle your nerves. Use it as a guideline but don't let it turn against you when the timing doesn't turn out exactly as you planned, it happens, don't worry, you may gain time on another item. Scratch to do things from the list once you executed them.

- Remember you have 6 hours as you said. That's very, very ample time. Don't rush but get going.

- Don't clutter your workspace! Clean it as often as you can. Cluttered spaces are typical for unorganized and chaotic people. It helps them confirm their twisted thinking they have a "mountain" of work before them...

 

On the dish;

- you will be cooking with a very delicate tasting fish. Carefully choose the other ingredients as to not overpower the fish.

- Don't use too many ingredients. Better to cook a few ingredients to utter perfection.

- Check your seasoning time after time. Much more important; do check for acidity too; add lemonjuice a bit at a time and taste. Never add too much. A nice acidity can make a dish exciting as opposed to flat and not interesting. Do not forget!! No "fraicheur" in your fish dish, no A level... Check and check and check again.

- Keep the sizes of your ingredients in harmony with each other. You could cut fillets in smaller chunks if it suits the other ingredients, it plates more fashionable too.

- Play with colors, contrasts and with textures! For instance; say you would fry the fish à la meunière, you could choose white shades like a silky smooth soft tasting Jerusalem artichokes puree or cauliflower puree, maybe adding wild mushrooms with a soft color like chanterelles or use bold contrasting colors like black trompettes de la mort or a combination of what's available at that time. Or as another color contrast using a little concassée of tomatoes in a creamy sauce with just very little chopped green herbs etc. These are all soft textures. A small but important secret; you make a dish with many softer ingredients a real waaw dish when adding some crunch, like a crumble (think outside the box for components and maybe spread the crumble on small heaps next to the fish instead of on it...) or even adding a fancy shape like a (parmezan or comté mixed with...) cookie. It will help the plating in a third dimension...

 

 

  

post #21 of 21

That is very good advice. I would also start to develope a time line for production. Unfortunately you need the carcass long before the gold.

Watch your portions. weigh them. If you're over then be creative at adding the excess to upsell the plate. Otherwise it effects you're food cost.

You can sometimes add it to a carb, vege, or starch to mark up the plate. Don't want to end up with 2-3 oz fillet left behind.

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