Culinary Arts Project

Striped Bass & Lentils, some unique flavors, and a Nutrition Primer – Day 33


  • A dab of butter is often added to a sauce prior to serving (monter au beurre) – however, if you brown the butter first and then add it, the sauce will taste “oh my goodness!”
  • Never put your rolling pin in water, it will eventually warp
  • In France, you start culinary school at 14, and go for 6 years. This means by 20 you are really exceptional at your craft….providing you picked the right craft when you were 14.

Today we only prepared one dish – Striped Bass & Lentils. We had to fillet the bass, for which I definitely need practice, my filets looked liked butchered shreds of fish. Miyako’s (my partner today) had much cleaner lines.

Our bass, post-filleting
Our bass, post-filleting
Miyako sauteeing the bass
Miyako sauteeing the bass

This dish was definitely one of the more unique tasting so far. As is the pattern, cooking the ‘protein’ was the easy part. The fillets were dried, s&p, the skin scored diagonally, rubbed with curry, and pan fried skin side down in canola oil till the flesh is almost all cooked, then a quick over-easy, and onto the drying rack. The difficulty lay once again in the accompaniment. The fish was laid on a lentil bed (which was cooked in chicken stock), with garlic, macedoined (cubed) carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, green beans, bacon lardons. On the plate we drizzled an ‘african’ vinaigrette which was a vinaigrette, flavoured with cumin and horseradish. Sprinkled around were chopped mint and dill, diced apples, those darn pearl onions again, and julienned radishes. Lots of ingredients – 28 in total. Our counter was surprisingly uncluttered, certainly considering I only got an 8.5 for organization of workspace on my last assessment. Anyhow, all these elements worked really well together and generated a unique flavor. We got a thumbs-up for our dish, except I browned the bacon lardons a bit too much.

Chef Mark, sporting the "Master Chef" badge
Chef Mark, sporting the “Master Chef” badge
Stewart sporting his master bass badge

We had Chef Mark today who has the Master Class Chef’s badge on his sleeve, so, even though I mentioned that onions “a blonde” meant “with a slight color”, he countered “no, only a glaze”…so we made sure our onions had no color. He also made us a unique ginger-carrot-blue cheese soup. Also, Chef April made us some delicious tiramisu with the lady fingers we made the other day, which was served with our vanilla ice cream. Needless to say, we ate well today. We also had a brief primer on nutrition covering amino acids, lipids, polysaccharides, phytochemicals – I had flashbacks of the MCAT!

Joe brought us all chopsticks today - thanks Joe!
Joe brought us all chopsticks today – thanks Joe!

It’s thanksgiving weekend starting tomorrow, so today was the last school day this week. I bought some fresh vegetables and turkey parts at the Union Square farmer’s market, so I’m all ready to cook up a feast. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Sad note: I was late for class for the first time – our dog Ajax wasn’t able to stand up this morning so we ran him to the vet this morning prior to class. He’s spending the night at the dog hospital. He’s not doing so well.

Ajax – R.I.P.

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