Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fish Tuesday 2.0 (a.k.a. Fish Wednesday)

One Sunday afternoon, we were wandering around near the train station when we saw a sign for something called "French Market."  Our interest piqued, and we ventured inside what I was sure was part of the train station (it was) to figure out what exactly the French Market was.  To my never ending delight, what was once a urine-soaked haven for Chicago's denizens of the night, had been transformed into something of a permanent farmer's market.  After gleefully walking up and down the aisles, viewing the vendors' wares, I finally came upon the butcher/fishmonger.  It was here that the idea of Fish Wednesday was born.  If you have been reading this blog for long, you will know that one of my favorite parts, if not my favorite, of being unemployed was Fish Tuesdays at the Fishguy Market, so needless today I was thrilled at the prospect of a weekly fish day returning.  Anyway, the French Market is located between Randolph and Washington with entrances on either Clinton or Canal.  The website is

Since the glorious discovery of the French Market, I have cooked for two Fish Wednesdays.  The first one turned out relatively decent, but as you can see, I tweaked and changed it all a bit to make it even better. 

For the first recipe, I got the recipe for the bbq sauce out of a magazine that arrived at work (sorry, I forgot which one).  I thought that it would go perfectly with fish since it was light and fruity, but the recipe without my modifications, was awful.  I think there is some promise in it, but I'd definitely cut down on both the tomato juice and tomato paste.  Fortunately, the mustard glaze was so good that I kind of forgot about the awful bbq sauce.

Salmon with Blackberry-Bourbon BBQ Sauce (serves 2)
2 salmon fillets
4 tbsp grain mustard
5 tbsp sugar (I used regular sugar, though next time, I'd use brown)
1 tspn soy sauce
0.5 cups blackberry jam
0.75 cup tomato juice
0.5 cup tomato paste
0.25 cup bourbon (more if you want to drink some, which I'd highly recommend)
2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp dijon mustard
0.25 tspn cayenne (adjust if you want it more or less spicy)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
0.5 tbsp chile powder
kosher salt

1.  Mix grain mustard, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl to form a thick paste.  Salt and pepper salmon, then spread the mustard glaze on the salmon liberally.  Let the salmon sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes so it is no longer chilled.
2.  Mix all other ingredients in a medium-sized sauce pan.  Set the pan over medium-low heat and cook for about 20-25 minutes.
3.  While the sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 450.  When the oven reaches that temperature, put the salmon in the oven on a baking sheet covered with foil.  Let the salmon cook for 10-12 minutes.
4.  Drizzle some sauce (if you like it) on to the salmon and enjoy.  I think I would serve this with green beans or spinach.

Here is my tweaks and upgrades on that recipes, including the scrapping of the bbq sauce entirely.  This very well may be the best fish dish that I've ever cooked.  I got this recipe from the recipe finder on, but it was so poorly written and confusing that I pretty much made up my own method of doing it.  You have to be vigilant when making this since there is a bunch of stuff going on at once.

Part 2
2 mahi mahi filets (though any light fish fillets will be fine).
2 slices of bacon
6-8 red potatoes, sliced into thin discs
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
olive oil
2 beets, peeled and sliced into batons
3 cups baby spinach
0.25 cups white wine
0.5 tspn white wine vinegar
1 tbsp butter
0.5 cups white wine
juice from 0.75 lemon
3 bay leaves
0.25 cups cream
1 tbsp grain mustard
4 tbsp butter, cut into 1 tbsp chunks

1.  Preheat oven to 450.
2.  Put potato discs in a single layer on a foil-covered baking sheet.  Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put in oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes until they turn nicely brown.
3.  Wrap each mahi mahi filet with a piece of bacon, being sure that the bacon does not overlap itself.  Salt and pepper and set to the side.
4.  For the sauce, in a medium sauce pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat.  When melted add 1 of the diced shallots and cook until just turning brown (about 3 minutes).  Add bay leaves and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.  Deglaze with 0.5 cup of white wine.  Sprinkle in the lemon juice and let it reduce until it looks syrupy.
5.  While sauce is reducing, film a large saute pan with olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat.  Add in the remaining diced shallot and the garlic and cook until turning brown (about 1 minute).   Add the beets and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots are nicely browned.  Deglaze with the 0.25 cup of white wine and then add in the vinegar.  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir while it all cooks together and pan is nearly dry.  Add in the spinach and stir it around until the spinach has wilted.
6.  Film a frying pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Put the fish, presentation side down, into the pan and cook for 1 minute until bacon is nicely browned.  Flip fish over and cook for another 1 minute.
7.  While fish is cooking, remove the potatoes from the oven and set aside.  Opening the oven should reduce the oven temperature to about 425.  Set the oven for 425 and put in the pan with the fish for about 6 minutes.  Turn off the oven.  While you are completing everything else, put the potatoes in the warm oven to heat up.
8.  Now that the sauce is reduced to a syrup, add in the cream and mustard and return to a boil, whisking.  Once it is boiling again, whisk in 4 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp at a time, adding a new one only when the previous one has been incorporated.  Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a cup or bowl.
9.  After that whole marathon, here is how I plated it.  Put a ring of potatoes down around the plate.  Put a large spoonful of spinach and beets in the center.  Top that with the fish and then drizzle with the strained sauce.

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