Recipe: Fish Velouté Sauce and Grilled Crappie

Velouté is last one of the five mother sauces of classical cuisine we haven’t covered. It can be made with any white stock, but this version, the fish velouté, is made with fish stock. There’s also a veal velouté and a chicken velouté. Fish velouté is the basis for the traditional White Wine Sauce, as well as the classic Bercy sauce, the Normandy sauce and many others. The Bercy sauce, named after a district in the east of Paris, is a finished sauce for fish and seafood dishes. It’s made by reducing white wine and chopped shallots and then simmering in a basic fish velouté.
This velouté is not itself a finished sauce; it isn’t typically served as is. You could, however, simply season it with salt and pepper and use it much as you would basic gravy.

6 cups fish stock
2 oz clarified butter
2 oz all-purpose flour

Heat the fish stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot. Meanwhile, in a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the clarified butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy. Don’t let it turn brown; that will affect the flavor. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated into the butter, giving you a pale-yellow colored paste. This paste is called a roux. Heat the roux for another minute or so to cook off the taste of raw flour. Using a wire whisk, slowly add the hot fish stock to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about one-third, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan. Use a ladle to skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. The resulting sauce should be smooth and velvety. If it’s too thick, whisk in a bit more hot stock until it’s just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the sauce from the heat. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth. Keep the velouté covered until you’re ready to use it.

Grilled Fish-n-Foil Italian Style
It’s so easy to zest up your fish for grilling by adding Italian dressing. If you cook on a grill, you may want to baste your fish every two minutes to prevent it from drying out. If you choose to cook fish and veggies in foil (think easy and clean) there is no need to baste your fish.

6 fish fillets
1 cup Italian dressing
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
Salt to taste
2 each red and green bell peppers, each cut into 6 pieces
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (freshly grated is better)
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Mix dressing and crushed red peppers in a bowl. In a shallow glass dish place fish and pour dressing over fish fillets and sliced peppers. Turn fish and peppers over to coat both sides of each with dressing mixture. Refrigerate 15 minutes to marinate. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Remove fish and peppers from marinade; discard marinade. Grill fish and peppers on covered grill about 4 minutes and turn fish over. Grill covered for 2 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Place fish and peppers on serving plate. Sprinkle with cheese and cilantro. Let stand 3 minutes.

Cajun Grilled Crappie

8 fish fillets (with or without skin)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cajun seasonings
Spanish rice, 1 package
Corn, 1 can whole kernel
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (choose a spicier pepper if desired)
Chunky salsa
Shredded cheddar cheese
Butter

Sprinkle fillets with salt, pepper and Cajun seasonings. Lightly coat the fillets with melted butter or olive oil to prevent sticking to the grill. Prepare Spanish rice per package instructions and add whole kernel corn and jalapeno pepper. When fillets are nearly done, cover fish with a large dollop of chunky salsa and shredded cheese. Let the cheese melt completely. Place fillets on a bed of rice mixture.