Filets De Poisson Bercy Aux Champignons

For our monthly Advanced Wine Class, I made this fish dish from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I thought it would go well with the wine theme, which was Wines of Champagne. Just a warning. This dish is rich. On the other hand, if you are someone who doesn’t really like fish, this dish is good choice. The earthy flavors of the mushroom and the creaminess of the sauce make the fish almost secondary.

Filets De Poisson Bercy Aux Champignons

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 lb. or 3-1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 2-1/2 lbs. filets of sole or flounder
  • 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups cold, white wine fish stock made from heads, bones, and trimmings
  • OR 1/4 cup dry white wine or 2/3 cup dry white vermouth plus 1/4 cup bottled clam juice, and water
  • OR 1-1/2 cups wine and water mixed
  • Buttered brown paper or waxed paper (do not use aluminum foil-it will discolor the wine)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons flour blended to a paste with 3 Tb softened butter
  • 3/4 to 1 cup whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter cut into bits

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. In an enameled skillet, toss the mushrooms in hot butter over moderately high heat for a minute or two without browning. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

  3. Season the filets lightly with salt and pepper and arrange them in one slightly overlapping layer in the dish. If filets are thin, they may be folded in half so they make triangles. Spread the mushrooms over them.

  4. Pour in the cold liquid and enough water so fish is barely covered. Bring almost to the simmer on top of the stove. Lay the buttered paper over the fish. Then place dish in bottom third of preheated oven. Maintain liquid almost at the simmer for 8 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets. The fish is done when a fork pierces the flesh easily. Do not overcook; the fish should not be dry and flaky. Place a cover over the dish and drain out all the cooking liquid into an enameled saucepan.

  5. Preheat broiler.

  6. Rapidly boil down the poaching liquid until it has reduced to 1 cup.

  7. Off heat, beat the flour and butter paste into the hot liquid, then 1/2 cup of the cream. Bring to the boil. Thin out the sauce with additional tablespoons of cream until it coats the spoon nicely. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and drops of lemon juice.

  8. Spoon the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle on the cheese, and dot with butter. Place dish 6 to 7 inches from a hot broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to reheat fish and brown top of sauce lightly. Serve as soon as possible.

  9. (*) Dish may be prepared ahead and reheated as follows: After sprinkling on the cheese and butter, set aside. Before serving, reheat just to the simmer on top of the stove, then run for a minute or two under a hot broiler to brown the top of the sauce.