A combination of steaming and baking which requires heat to be applied from above and below, braising is a method of cooking meat, fish, game, poultry and some vegetables. In France, in earlier times, braising was done in a special pan, called a braisiere, which had a concave lid for holding hot charcoal. Later, the charcoal was replaced by boiling water and today, although braising pans are available and are used in professional kitchens, they no longer have concave lids.
For domestic use a heavy saucepan or flameproof casserole may be used for braising.
Braising is done in part on top of the stove and then, for the greater part of the cooking time, in the oven. When a large
piece of meat is braised it is first browned and then placed on a bed of vegetables, bacon and herbs. This bed of vegetables is used for flavouring and is discarded before the meat is served. A little liquid is added and after a preliminary simmer on top of the stove for up to an hour, the meat is cooked in the oven for 2 to 3 hours.
A simple interesting way to serve bass, this dish may be served with mashed or croquette potatoes.
6 oz. butter
1 lb. carrots, scraped and finely
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
½ teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1 bass, about 3 lb., cleaned and gutted 10 fl. oz. dry white wine
1 tablespoon melted butter
3 lemons, cut into slices
Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375°F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C).
Melt one-third of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. When the foam subsides, add the carrots and onions.
½ teaspoon of salt. Cover the saucepan and cook the vegetables for 15 minutes over low heat.
In a small bowl, beat together another third of the butter, the parsley, tarragon, the remaining
1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Spread the insides of the fish with the butter
Remove the vegetables from the sauce-pan and spread them over the bottom of a roasting tin or flameproof casserole. Place the fish on top of the vegetables. Pour the wine over them and sprinkle the top of the fish with the melted butter.
Put the tin or pot in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the fish is cooked and flakes easily. Remove the roasting
tin from the oven. Transfer the fish to a warmed serving dish. Strain the vegetables and liquid into a small saucepan.
Arrange the vegetables around the fish. Cover and keep the fish and vegetables hot while you make the sauce.
Place the saucepan over high heat and If bass is not available, halibut or haddock may be used instead.
bring the braising liquid to the boil. If the sauce is thin, boil it briskly to reduce it. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter, a little at a time. When all the butter has been absorbed, pour the sauce over the fish. Garnish with the lemon slices and serve immediately.