Matelote Normande

Matelote Normande

One from the Bone’s farmhouse in Normandy this one—feel free to substitute red wine for the cider, and eau de vie or even whisky for the Calvados. This, however, is the real thing. Serves 6.

  • 900g (2 lb) fish—225g (½ lb) conger eel, and a mixture of plaice, dabs, whiting and gurnard, all cleaned and cut into strips.
  • 80g (3 oz) butter
  • liquor from mussels
  • 250ml (½ pint) fish or light meat stock
  • 110g (4 oz) thick cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp chervil, chopped
  • 2—4 tbsp Calvados
  • 250ml (½ pt) dry cider
  • For the garnish:
  • ½ lb mushrooms, lightly fried
  • 2 pints mussels, opened
  • croûtons of bread fried in butter
  1. Cook the fish in the butter until the pieces are very lightly coloured. Pour over the warmed calvados, set it alight, and stir the fish about in the flames. Add cider, mussel liquor and stock. Season with salt and pepper and add some chopped chervil. Simmer until the fish is just cooked.
  2. Add the butter and flour mashed together in small lumps to thicken, then pour in the cream. Don’t let it boil, just thicken gently over a medium heat.
  3. Transfer the lot to a warm serving dish and arrange the mushrooms, mussels and croûtons around the fish.

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