Never take for granted the love of a Good Woman.
Therefore, when one of my readers mentioned in the combox a recipe called Sole Bonne Femme, “Good Woman”, I determined to get me some o’ that love.
Since I was out and about when I read that comment on my phone, I pulled up Julia Child’s recipe to spot the ingredients before my routine stop at the grocer.
Fish on Friday, right?
Sole Bonne Femme is a way to poach fillets of fish and the creation of a sauce from the poaching liquid. Bonne Femme is made with mushrooms. There is a variation with the flesh of tomatoes. I don’t recall the name of the chef who concocted it. (Aside: “concoct”… from Latin concoquo – “boil or seeth together”.)
The portobello were on sale. Then, parsley, shallot, clam juice, white wine and, of course, the fillets of sole, not on sale, alas, but I only needed two.
Note… I had the green beans on the side. Nothing fancy. Quickly microwaved and dressed with lemon juice.
I used a combination of the larger slices of mushrooms and minced, with minced shallot and chopped parsley as my base in the glass casserole.
Lay the fillets over the base.
Meanwhile, I’m pre-heating my toaster oven to 350°F.
Because the poaching time is really short, lest you overcook, and because I don’t have a stove but only an induction hotplate, and since the container I had to use was glass… I preheated the poaching liquid.
My wine was Mâcon Village, which I used for the meal, and clam juice (because I had no fish stock) and, later, cream.
Adding the now hot poaching liquid.
Into the toaster oven. It took a little longer than I thought it might to get the liquid to a simmer, so I checked the fillets fairly often by touch and color. Do NOT over cook fish!
It would be easier to make this on a larger scale than for just one person.
Anyway, I pulled the fillets and kept them warm on a covered plate on top of the oven.
Working fast, I brutally reduced my filtered poaching liquid, and then whipped up a roux…
Added my reduction…
The thickening process was smooth and easy. I added some lemon juice to give it a little more pop.
I arranged the fillets on a pool of sauce with the large mushroom slices, spooning the minced mix into the center. Believe me, I went back for more sauce after this photo! It was really good, winey and mushroomy and shalloty and creamy.
Sole Bonne Femme!
It was nice to eat like a civilized person. I haven’t been, lately.
Now that I have made this once, I know better what to do the next time. I have a few ideas about how to improve my technique.
Cooking doesn’t have to be terribly complicated. You need a little conviction and imagination.