Week 4 has been my favorite class so far. First we were taught how to scale and skin a fish. Then, instead of following a recipe from the book the chef taught us a few techniques how to cook fish; grilling, sauteing, and butter roasting. After going over these techniques we were able to experiment with seasonings and sauces to pair with the fish.
I chose to butter roast snapper fillets. I seasoned the snapper with white pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, dill, and Spanish paprika. I then preheated the pan. As the pan was heating I lightly coated the fish with canola oil, then when the pan was hot I placed a tablespoon of oil in the pan. I then placed the fish in the pan, turning the heat down after 30 seconds. When the fish turned white halfway through I flipped the fish and added 4-5 tablespoons of butter to the pan and turned down the heat. As the butter melted I basted the fish with the butter for 1-2 min until the fish was done, squeezing lemon juice over the fish at the very end.
After removing the fish from the pan I drained out most of the butter and added a chopped shallot and garlic. I then deglazed the pan with white wine and reduced it by 3/4. After reducing the wine I added spinach and sauteed the spinach. I served the fish over the spinach.
In week two of the cooking classes we learned how to prepare and cook various forms of meat. The class started with a talk about the various types of each meat, ie the difference between choice and prime cuts of beef. We were then walked through where on the animal various cuts of meat came from. After the short lesson the chef taught us how to prep and French a rack of lamb and prep a pork and veal tenderloin. Then we got into the cooking. I chose to cook a roasted veal tenderloin with a maple bourbon glaze, Ben I’m sorry about the veal. One skill I will take away from this recipe was learning how to properly sear a piece of meat. From properly preheating the pan to the proper time to flip the meat. The chef was very good about answering any questions we had during the class. A few of the other dishes from the class that stood out were the beef stroganoff, the Thai curried pork, and the tri tip that the head chef prepared for us. I look forward to trying out those dishes in the near future.
Today I practiced the techniques for breaking down a chicken I learned on Monday. As you can see from the first picture I started with the whole bird. I then used the knife skills I was taught and broke the bird down into quarters, also known as European style. I then further broke the bird down into eighths, also known as the American style. For the dish I wound up making I had to cut the chicken breasts in half so everything would cook evenly. If you look at the bottom left corner of the third picture you can see I also attempted to French the chicken wing. The chef in the cooking class went over this technique briefly but I thought I would give it a try.