Rougets aux Champignons

A subtle combination of red mullets, mushrooms and cream, Rougets aux Champignons (roo-jay oh shom-peen-yon) is an ideal dinner party dish. Serve with rice and broccoli.

6 red mullets, cleaned and with the eyes removed

3 oz. butter

1 tablespoon Hour

5 fl. oz. dry white wine

5 fl. oz. single cream

4 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

5 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 streaky bacon slices, rinds removed and finely chopped

1 oz. butter

2 spring onions , trimmed and finely chopped

4 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped

First, prepare the stuffing. In a medium-sized saucepan, fry the bacon over moderate heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until it is crisp and golden and has rendered most of its fat.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside on a plate.

Add the butter to the pan. When the foam subsides, add the spring onions and fry, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until they are soft and translucent but not brown. Stir in the mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for a further 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is thoroughly combined and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat, return the bacon to the pan and set the mixture aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

When the mixture is cool, spoon equal amounts into the cavity of each fish. Close each cavity with a cocktail stick. Set aside.

In a large frying-pan, melt 2 ounces of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the fish, 2 or 3 at a time, and fry them for 3 minutes on each side. With a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a large shallow ovenproof dish. Remove the cocktail sticks. Set aside while you fry the remaining fish.

In a small saucepan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Gradually stir in the wine and cream, being careful to avoid lumps. Return the pan to the heat and stir in the mushrooms, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce over the fish. Place the dish in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately.

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