French Byron Potatoes with Grilled Salmon Steaks

Lately I’ve been posting recipes from all over the world: Spanish, Mexican, Moroccan, etc. I thought it is time to get back to some French cooking, which is my specialty! Thumbing though some recipes I learned at the Paris Cordon Bleu school, I came across a recipe for Byron Potatoes (Pommes de terre Byron). These are mashed or puréed potatoes that are made with butter and cream and topped with cheese, usually Gruyère or Parmesan. How French can that be! They can be presented as individual potato cakes or served in a casserole dish. In any case, they make a perfect side dish, but what better way to serve them than as an accompaniment to Grilled Salmon Steaks with Lemon Butter Sauce! (see below)

The Byron Potatoes recipe that I learned at Le Cordon Bleu was more ‘fancied up’, including piping the pureed potatoes onto a baking sheet, however you can skip the piping and just shape the potato cakes with your hands.

So, here is the process for making the delicious French Byron Potatoes:

First, the potatoes are boiled and then passed through a food mill to make them nice and fluffy:

Byron (6 of 6) (1 of 1)

Butter and two egg yolks are then worked into the warm potatoes, then piped into small circles on a baking sheet. A well is made into the center of each potato cake using the back of a spoon, then a creamy white sauce is spooned into the center. Finally, grated cheese is added on top and the cakes are then baked to a golden brown.

Bake the Byron Potatoes until golden and top with some chopped chives:

Byron (4 of 4) (1 of 1)

I served my Byron Potatoes with Grilled Salmon Steaks with Lemon Butter Sauce, but they can be served with just about any type of food: fish, lamb, salads, the sky is the limit!

What are Salmon Steaks (salmon cutlets)?

Salmon steaks are derived by cutting the salmon cross-wise across the bone rather than lengthwise. By including the bone in the cooking of the fish, you get a slightly more juicy flavor and the salmon steak certainly has an interesting shape. You can remove the center bone of the fish prior to serving which makes it easier to eat. However, you could also use thick salmon slices (fillets) rather than the steaks, if desired.

In any case, bon appétit!  (Also, I’d love it if you would subscribe to my blog or ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page)!

Byron

French Byron Potatoes with Grilled Salmon Steaks
Serves 4
Succulent Salmon Steaks surrounded by creamy French potatoes
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
1 hr
Byron Potatoes
  1. 500 g large potatoes
  2. 50 g butter
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. Salt
For the White Sauce
  1. 15 g butter
  2. 15 g flour
  3. 50 ml cream
  4. 150 ml milk
  5. Salt/white pepper
  6. Nutmeg
  7. 50 g Gruyère or Parmesan cheese
  8. Chives chopped
Salmon Steaks
  1. 4 salmon steaks (cutlets) or thick salmon slices
  2. Olive or vegetable oil for grilling
  3. Salt/pepper
For the Lemon Butter Sauce
  1. 30 ml water
  2. Juice of ½ lemon
  3. salt and pinch cayenne pepper
  4. 100 g butter, cut into cold cubes
  5. Chopped chives
For the Byron Potatoes
  1. First make the White Sauce; melt the 15 g butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the flour to make a thick paste. Gradually stir in the cream and milk over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Add the salt, white pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes into rough chunks. Add the potatoes to cold water and bring to the boil; add salt to water after water comes to a boil; cook until the potatoes are cooked through. Strain water until potatoes are dry. Press the potatoes through a food mill then work the butter through the warm potatoes using a rubber spatula. Now add the two egg yolks and continue to mix with the spatula. Season with salt and white pepper.
  3. Place the potato mixture into a pastry bag using a nozzle with a round opening and pipe the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking tray; pipe into concentric circles about 3 inches wide. Dip a metal spoon into warm water and use the back of the spoon to make a small well into the middle of each potato circle. Fill each well with a spoon-full of the white sauce and then top with a little grated cheese. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes turn golden. Garnish with a little chopped chives.
For the Grilled Salmon Steaks
  1. Brush both sides of each Salmon steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or Barbeque grill until medium hot and brush with oil. Lay each steak diagonally across the grill to create a diagonal pattern for presentation. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes then brush each steak with a little of the lemon butter sauce, wrap in foil and bake in the oven for a further 4-5 minutes until the fish is cooked through. The fish will be done when the flesh has turned a light pink inside.
For the Lemon Butter Sauce
  1. Combine the water and lemon juice in a small saucepan; heat for several minutes until the mixture reduces a little. Gradually add the cold butter cubes; whisk over medium-low heat until the mixture gradually thickens. Be careful not to add too much heat or the butter may split. Continue adding the butter until the mixture thickens then add the salt, cayenne pepper and chopped chives.
  2. To plate, remove the center bone from each piece of salmon. Place the salmon steak on top of a bed of cooked spinach, spoon some of the lemon butter sauce around the side of the salmon and add a few pieces of the Byron potatoes on the side.
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Cream of Cauliflower Soup (Crème Dubarry)

 

Hello, everyone! Someone recently gave me a HUGE head of cauliflower and I couldn’t think of anything to make with it- until a hint of scandal entered my brain from a recipe we learned at the Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris:Crème Dubarry (or Cream of Cauliflower Soup). You might ask, “How could a scandal be attached to a simple Cauliflower soup?”

It turns out that Madame du Barry of France had many lovers and eventually became the mistress of King Louis XV. Decked out in jewels and fancy clothes, she led a pampered life until she was finally forced to leave Versailles upon the King’s death. Eventually she became a victim of the Reign of Terror and was beheaded in 1793.

Madame du Barry

But not to worry. Madame du Barry’s spirit lives on through this soup named after her: Crème Dubarry, or Cream of Cauliflower Soup. It’s a pretty easy recipe and I’ve added a little Gruyere cheese to give the soup more body: I’m sure Madame du Barry wouldn’t mind!

 

Cream of Cauliflower Soup (Crème Dubarry)
 
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: French
Author: Fran Flint
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5
A creamy Cauliflower Soup named in honor of Louis XV mistress!
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 300 g (11 oz) cauliflower
  • 120 g (4 oz) leeks, white part
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 5 cups chicken stock or water
  • Salt/white pepper to taste
  • ½ cup thickened cream
  • ¼ cup gruyère or parmesan cheese, grated
  • Garnish:
  • ¼ cup small cauliflower florets
  • ¼ cup small broccoli florets
  • Chives, diced
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chopped shallot, leeks and cauliflower; sauté for several minutes until the vegetables soften a little. Add the flour and stir. Add the chicken stock and cook for about 15 minutes until the cauliflower softens and is fully cooked through. Add salt and white pepper to taste.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for several minutes until smooth. Transfer mixture back to the saucepan, add the cream and cheese and stir until thickened. Add more salt and pepper if required.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil and add the cauliflower and broccoli florets. Cook for several minutes, then remove. To serve, add soup to bowl, place several cauliflower and broccoli florets in the center of the bowl and sprinkle with some chopped chives.
 

 

 

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Lobster Chartreuse – from my Paris balcony

 

Lobster

It’s not easy photographing food inside a small Paris apartment. I don’t have the advantage of the large expanse of light coming in from my living room window in Australia. There’s just a small kitchen window here next to my work bench and when the sun passes over this area, I then walk 15 steps to the other side of the apartment to catch the light from my little front balcony. So it’s here that I photographed my next dish Lobster Chartreuse.

This recipe is an adaptation from a dish we learned during the advanced course at the Paris Le Cordon Bleu school. We weren’t told why it is called ‘Lobster Chartreuse’. Chartreuse is the name of a liqueur, however we didn’t use any of that in the recipe. Anyway, it’s a catchy name, so let’s just leave it at that.

This recipe pairs freshly cooked lobster and a rich sauce with fresh fruit and candied orange and lemon peel.  It appeals to most of the senses: visual, smell and most of all, taste- so you can have it all!

I used fresh lobster that I bought from my local Paris fish monger, but you can use already prepared lobster meat. The recipe is a bit fiddly, requiring making a fresh sauce and then assembling the carrot and radish pieces inside the ring mold. But, if you want to impress your guests or family on a special occasion, this is it! 

LOBSTER CHARTREUSE

Ingredients

  • 1 Lobster (live or fresh)
  • 1 large leek (white part)
  • 1 long daikon radish or 2 smaller round ones
  • 2 carrots
  • softened butter for the ring molds

For the Mousse stuffing

  • 60 g white fish meat (raw)
  • 1 egg white
  • 60 ml cream
  • salt/pepper

For the candied orange and lemon peel

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • syrup

Lobster Sauce

  • shells from the lobster
  • green part of the leek, chopped
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • tomato paste
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 150 ml fish or chicken stock
  • salt/pepper

Garnish

  • 100 g baby spinach leaves
  • candied orange and lemon peel

Directions

  • Prepare the lobster: there are several ways to ‘terminate’ a lobster, but I used a large knife to cut through its head. Separate the head from the body and then separate the large claws from the body. Place the body and claws in boiling water; cook the body for about 5 minutes and the large claws for about 7 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool.
  • Remove the meat from the body and tail section by turning it over and cutting through the lobster’s ‘underbelly’ using kitchen scissors and then removing the meat.

Cut through ‘underbelly’ of lobster to remove the meat

Lobster (3 of 3) (1 of 1)

  • To remove the meat from the large claws, some people advise cracking them open using the back of a large knife. This didn’t work for me since the claws were very thick and hard. Instead I cracked them open by using a medium-sized rock from the garden (smashing down on the claws). My husband gave me this brilliant idea, I was at a loss of what to do next!
  • Prepare the lobster sauce: chop up the green leafy part of a leek, then dice 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 onion and 1 tomato. Add these ingredients to a pan with hot oil, then add the lobster shells. Lower the heat and stir until the vegetables are soft. Add the tomato paste, white wine and fish (or chicken) stock. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes. Strain through a sieve and then reduce the sauce to about 50% of its previous volume.

 Add the lobster shells to a pan with the vegetables, wine and tomato pasteLobster 4 of 4) (1 of 1)

  •  Prepare the candied orange and lemon peel: cut the orange and lemon peel into very fine julienne slices. Bring to boil 1 cup water with 3/4 sugar to form a syrup. Cook the orange and lemon peel in the syrup until they become soft and candied.
  • Prepare the mousse stuffing: place the raw white fish (I used whiting) into a blender, along with the egg white, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth then add the cream. The stuffing should hold together like a smooth paste.
  • Slice the white part of a leek into thin circles about 1/4 inch wide. Place them in a single layer into a pan with a little butter and water. Cook them over low heat for several minutes until they are softened.
  • Slice the carrots and daikon radish into thin strips about 1/2 inch wide and the height of your ring mold. Cook in simmering, salted water until the veggies are cooked ‘al dente’- with a bit of a crunch still remaining in the texture.
  • Assemble the ingredients in the ring mold: butter the inside of your ring mold with softened butter. Place the mold on top of a piece of plastic wrap and then cut a circle of baking paper to fit the bottom of your mold. Place the carrot and radish strips vertically inside the mold, alternating between the two and overlapping the strips. Bring the plastic wrap to fit up over the sides of the mold. You will be placing this mold into a warm water bath (bain marie) to cook the lobster chartreuse.

  Alternate the carrot and daikon radish strips inside the ring mold

  • First, place a layer of the cooked white leek circles on the bottom of the mold, then add a layer of the mousse stuffing, followed by a layer of loose lobster meat (retain the meat of the lobster tail and claws to decorate the plate). Add a bit of the reduced lobster sauce the repeat the whole process.

Layer the inside of the ring mold with white leeks, mousse stuffing and lobster meat.

  • Finish with a thin layer of the mousse stuffing on top. Bake in a bain marie 180 C (360 F) for about 15-20 minutes until the top part of the mold becomes firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool for several minutes and release the lobster chartreuse from the  ring mold.

Finish with a layer of mousse stuffing on top- place in bain marie to cook in oven

  • To plate the dish, add a layer of cooked baby spinach on the plate. Place the ring mold on top of the spinach and gently remove it. Place some of the candied orange and lemon pieces on top, lay the meat from the lobster body and claw on the side of the plate. Place a few orange slices on the side and arrange some of the reduced sauce around the lobster pieces.

 Lobster

 

 

 

 

Le Cordon Bleu: Sea Bass Coulibiac + Stuffed Tomatoes

 

Fish Pie (1 of 1) (1 of 1)My next lesson at the Cordon Bleu school in Paris was given by Chef Patrick Terrien, who will be retiring next week after 15 years at the school. Yes, we will miss him!

The recipe here is Sea Bass Coulibiac and tomatoes stuffed with Broccio Cheese (Bar en croute facon coulibiac, avec tomates farcies au broccio). Coulibiac (or ‘fish pie’) is a Russian-inspired dish included in Escoffier’s famous cookbook, “The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery.” Reportedly, Russians used to put various ingredients in their pie, like cabbage and sturgeon, but we used Sea Bass and even hard-boiled quail eggs.

It’s a truly delicious dish, especially when served with a creamy beurre blanc sauce.

First, we gutted and filleted a 1 kg (2.2 pound) Sea Bass, a fish with a nice flaky texture and thankfully, not too much ‘pin boning’ required.(It still takes me about 10 minutes to fillet a fish, while professionals do it in less than 2 minutes)!

 Fish Pie (2 of 2) (1 of 1)

We then made a yeast dough, letting it double in size, before rolling it out in a rectangular shape.Fish Pie (3 of 3) (1 of 1)Next, we made a delicious filling made of rice, fresh tarragon, diced salmon, diced mushrooms and fresh quail eggs. The filling was then layered with alternating rows of the sea bass fillets. The quail eggs are optional, but they do look ‘cute’ when you slice into the pie and see them hiding there! The layered filling is then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, cooled in the fridge and then unwrapped on top of the dough.

 The dough is then folded inwards, starting with one long edge and followed by the two sides. We then added some dough decorations, brushed the dough with water or egg wash, then baked in the oven for 35 minutes.

 Fish Pie ( 9 of 9) (1 of 1) This dish is then topped off with a delicious beurre blanc sauce and served with  tomatoes stuffed with Broccio cheese. Broccio cheese is a soft cheese from Corsica, but you could also use Ricotta cheese instead.

Fish Pie (1 of 1) (1 of 1)And what was the result from my class practical? The chef said my dish was ‘delicious’ but scolded me for not keeping my work station clean. No matter how hard I try, it seems that liquids keep on bubbling out of my pans onto the stove surface- impossible to keep immaculate!

Please join me later for my next blog, Boned Quail stuffed with Shitake Mushrooms!

Note: this recipe is quite long, adapted from Le Cordon Bleu recipe. You can shorten the recipe by leaving out the beurre blanc sauce and the stuffed tomatoes.

Sea Bass Coulibiac + Tomatoes Stuffed with Broccio Cheese
Serves 4
Fish pie with a Russian influence, served with cocktail style tomatoes stuffed with broccio cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 1 raw sea bass, filleted (or other white fish such as snapper, cod or John Dory)
Pastry Crust
  1. 400 g (3 cups) white flour
  2. 20 g (3 tbsp) fresh compressed yeast
  3. 125 ml (1/2 cup) warm water
  4. 1 tbsp sugar
  5. Pinch salt
  6. 4 tbsp oil
  7. 2 eggs
Filling (stuffing)
  1. 100 g (1/2 cup) short-grain rice, cooked
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 1 cup fresh uncooked salmon
  4. ½ bunch tarragon
  5. 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  6. 120 g diced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
  7. 8 quail eggs (optional)
  8. 20 g (3 tbsp) fresh breadcrumbs
  9. Salt/pepper to taste
Beurre blanc sauce
  1. 3 shallots, finely chopped
  2. 60 ml (1/4 cup) white vinegar
  3. 60 ml (1/4 cup) white wine vinegar
  4. 85 ml (1/3 cup) heavy cream
  5. 140 g (5 oz) cold butter, cubed
  6. Salt/white pepper
Tomatoes stuffed with broccio (or ricotta) cheese
  1. 8 vine-ripened cocktail (small) tomatoes
  2. 150 g broocio (or ricotta) cheese
  3. 2 tbsp olive oil infused with chopped thyme
  4. Salt/pepper
  5. 1 basil sprig
Instructions
  1. Prep Work: Cook 1 cup short-grain rice: bring 2 cups water to the boil, add the rice and cover with lid, reduce heat to low simmer, cook for 20 minutes or so until the rice is cooked and all moisture has been absorbed. Cook the quail eggs in low boiling water for several minutes and remove from heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 C (360 F)
  3. Prepare Dough: Add 20 g compressed yeast to 125 ml warm water. Add the sugar and salt to the yeast mixture. Add the flour, eggs and 4 tbsp oil. First, beat the eggs individually in a separate bowl, then add to the dough mixture. Knead on flowered surface, put in metal bowl, cover with cloth or paper towel. Let rise until double in size.
  4. Prepare the Sea Bass or other white fish- make sure the skin has been removed from the fish and all bones removed. Season with salt and pepper and place in fridge while preparing the filling.
  5. Prepare the Filling: Slice the salmon into small cubes (skin removed) and set aside. Finely chop the onion, add to fry pan with butter and little salt; cover with cartouche (parchment paper) and let onion soften for several minutes.
  6. Slice the mushrooms finely; Sweat the mushrooms in a little butter with some salt until soft. In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, cooked onions, cooked mushrooms, breadcrumbs, finely chopped tarragon (1/2 bunch), chopped parsley and uncooked salmon cubes, salt & pepper.
  7. Assemble the Coulibiac Filling (refer to the photos with instructions): Spread some filling on top of a sheet of plastic wrap (equal to the length of your fish), then add one slice of Sea Bass or other fish on top followed by ½ of the salmon cubes. Add another layer of filling, then a line of 8 quail eggs touching each other (optional). Repeat the layering as follows: add another layer of filling, a second piece of sea bass, then more filling. Next, roll the cling wrap tightly into a sausage shape, twist ends together and tuck ends under, put into fridge to cool.
  8. Prepare Beurre Blanc sauce: Prepare the reduction: add 3 finely diced shallots to sauce pan with the white wine vinegar and white wine. Reduce until a glaze forms. Whisk in cold butter cubes a little at a time until thickened. Stir in the cream and strain the sauce. Season with salt and white pepper.
  9. Prepare Dough: After dough has risen, punch it down and rollout into a rectangular shape on a lightly floured surface. Unwrap the filling from the plastic wrapping and place over dough leaving a margin around sides. Brush outer edges with water. Close one long edge into middle (one farthest away from you), then close the two sides inward (trim a little dough from corners before folding them inward) then fold the other long edge last. Flip dough over so seams are tucked under.
  10. Brush outside of dough with water with egg wash. Add decorations if desired (the chef placed 3-4 thin ropes of dough and several pom poms around the pastry). Brush with egg wash again.
  11. Prepare Tomatoes: Cut off very tops and bottoms of the small ‘cocktail’ tomatoes. Scoop out insides with mellon baller. Add some olive oil and salt into a small casserole dish- add the tomatoes into the casserole with the top side facing up (fill pan with sides of tomatoes touching).
  12. Place the broccio or ricotta cheese into a bowl. Add some chopped basil, thyme-infused oil, and salt/pepper. Place into piping bag and pipe into the tomato shells. Place tops back onto the tomatoes and heat in oven for 5 minutes (not too hot).
  13. To plate: Slice one piece of the coulibiac pastry onto the plate, add several stuffed tomatoes, basil leaves and a smear of the beurre blanc sauce.
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