People often ask me why I love to cook so much, what is it about being in the kitchen that keeps drawing me back in there. Over the years I’ve come up with numerous explanations ranging from the emotional thrill I get from cooking to the more practical logic that I just love to eat.
Deep down though there is the fascination with creating something. I don’t care what anyone else says, to me cooking is an art form and should be treated as such. Of course I enjoy creating my works of art for others but most importantly, I do it for myself.
What I love about the dish below is how a few humble ingredients can, with a little love and attention, be transformed into the perfect French inspired meal.
I started with a beautiful fresh piece of fish, lemon sole to be exact. Having an overflowing bounty of fresh basil thanks to all the rain this summer, I decided the mild fish would be wonderful paired with a tangy pistou, France’s version of pesto, full of fragrant garlic & basil. And lastly, to continue with the French theme, I rounded out the meal with Pommes Anna. Simplicity at its finest, I knew the crunchy crust of potatoes would lend the perfect contrast of textures to the poached fish.
Poached Fish with Pistou and Pommes Anna
For the Fish
1 lb. lemon sole (or other mild, white fish)
2 cups white wine (I used a bottle of Chardonnay that I had open already)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp butter
For the Pistou
1 1/2 cups basil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
For the Pommes Anna
1/2 lb. waxy potatoes, sliced thinly (I used about 8 medium sized red bliss potatoes)
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter
Since it will take the longest in the oven, begin by making the Pommes Anna.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the bottom and sides of a round baking dish with butter. Begin to layer the potato slices in a circle, starting in the middle and working your way outward. Once one layer is complete, brush the top with more butter and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining potato slices, brushing butter and seasoning after every layer. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven. After half hour, remove aluminum foil and continue to bake uncovered for an additional 30-45 minutes.
While the Pommes Anna is baking, prepare the pistou. Place basil, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Pulse to blend on low speed a few times or until all of the ingredients are combined. Set aside.
About 10 minutes before the Pommes Anna is done (it should be crispy on top) place fish in shallow baking dish. Pour white wine and lemon juice over fish and then season with salt and pepper (fish should not be completely covered). Place in oven and cook about 10 minutes or until fish is just firm and flaky.
Slice Pommes Anna in wedges and serve with fish and pistou.