Of all the seafood dishes out there, the easiest to prepare, to my mind, is poached fish fillets, be it cod, perch, turbot, or any firm fleshed fish. It even works with blue fish fillets. It is the easiest of all creations.
Most cooks I know do make this delicacy, but then they drench it in a rich sauce, be it Béarnaise sauce, Hollandaise sauce or Bechamel. I prefer this dish with a simple lemon-butter sauce, with just a few key ingredients for flavor: peppercorns, garlic, shallots and parsley. Serve with some steamed veggies, it hits the spot. A good Chablis, Pinot Grigio, or Reisling to accompany it ( or a light red, if you desire), and you have a memorable repast—even for a weeknight dinner.
POACHED FISH FILLETS WITH LEMON-BUTTER SAUCE
2 fish fillets (we use haddock), about 1 3/4 pounds
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
4-6 sprigs parsley, plus 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
8 whole peppercorns
Salt to taste (optional)
2 whole cloves
4 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Cut fillets crosswise into 4 pieces of equal size.
2. Place fish fillets in one layer in skillet or fry pan. Add milk and water. The fish should be barely covered with the liquid. If necessary, add a little more water. Add bay leaf, parsley sprigs, peppercorns, salt and cloves.
3. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer 5-7 minutes. Cooking time will depend on thickness of fish. Cook only until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
4. Heat one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and add garlic and shallots. Cook briefly, stirring.
5. Remove 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from the fish and add stir it into the saucepan.
6. Bring to a boil and add the lemon juice. Swirl in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Remove from heat and add the minced parsley and pepper.
7. Drain the fish and serve hot with the melted lemon-butter sauce poured over the fillets.
Yield: 4 servings.