Carpe Matelote

Braised carp served with a red wine sauce makes this fish dish a special treat. Glazed onions and pastry crescents are traditional accompaniments to Carpe Matelote (kahrp maht-loht).

2 oz. butter

2 onions, sliced

2 carrots, scraped and sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced bouquet garni, consisting of 4 parsley sprigs, 1 thyme spray and 1 bay leaf tied together

2 garlic cloves, crushed

6 peppercorns

2 to 3 lb. carp, cleaned 4 fl. oz. dry red wine

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons Beurre Noir, hot

SAUCE

2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 oz. mushrooms, wiped and chopped

12 fl. oz. dry red wine bouquet garni, consisting of 4 parsley sprigs, 1 thyme spray and 1 bay leaf tied together

2 tablespoons beurre manic

½ teaspoon salt

4 grindings black pepper

Preheat the oven to cool 300 CF (Gas Mark 2, 150°C).

In a fish kettle melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery. Cover the kettle and cook the vegetables for 5 minutes.

Add the bouquet garni, garlic and peppercorns to the vegetables. Place the carp on top. Pour the wine and vinegar over the fish and cover it with a sheet of well-buttered greaseproof paper or aluminium foil. Bring the liquid to a simmer over

moderate heat.

Cover the kettle and place it in the oven to bake for 1 hour. Using a bulb bastcr or large spoon, occasionally baste the carp.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the onion and fry

it for 5 to 6 minutes, or until it is lightly browned. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Shake the pan to coat the mushrooms thoroughly with the butter. Pour in the wine and add the bouquet garni. Bring the liquid to the boil and cook the sauce until it has reduced by half.

Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Slowly add the beurre manie to the sauce, stirring constantly. Stir in the salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce into a warmed sauceboat.

Transfer the carp from the fish kettle to a warmed serving dish. Discard the cooking liquid and vegetables. Pour the beurre noir over the carp and serve it with the sauce.

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