Whiting with Courgettes

The whiting in this dish is cooked very simply to preserve the delicate flavour, then coated with wine sauce and garnished with courgettes . Serve with potatoes and a mixed salad.

10 fl. oz. dry white wine

1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped

2- small onion, chopped

1 small carrot, scraped and chopped

3 white peppercorns, crushed

1 parsley sprig

4 whiting fillets, skinned

3 egg yolks

6 oz. unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 oz. butter

1 lb. courgettes , trimmed and cut into J-inch slices

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a small saucepan, bring the wine, celery, onion, carrot, peppercorns and parsley sprig to the boil over moderate heat.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer the stock for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Pour the stock through a strainer into a large frying-pan. Discard the contents of the strainer.

Fold the fillets in half, crosswise, and place them in the stock. Place the pan over moderate heat and bring the stock to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the whiting for 8 to 12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove the pan from the heat. With a slotted spoon or fish slice, transfer the fillets to an ovenproof serving dish. Keep warm. Return the frying-pan to moderately high heat and boil the stock until it has reduced by two- thirds of its original quantity. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a medium-sized heatproof mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with a wire whisk or wooden spoon to blend them thoroughly. Beat in 2 teaspoons of the softened butter and stir in half the reduced stock.

Fill a medium-sized saucepan one-third full with warm water. Put the bowl with the egg yolk mixture into it. Place the pan over very low heat. (The water should heat gradually but never come to the boil.) Stir the egg yolk mixture until it thickens slightly.

Add the remaining butter, a teaspoon at a time, stirring constantly. Stir in the remaining reduced stock and the lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat. Set the sauce aside over the water to keep it warm.

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

To prepare the garnish, in a large frying-pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the courgettes and fry them, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are just tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife. Remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle over the thyme and lemon juice and stir well until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Using a slotted spoon, arrange the courgettes around the fillets in the serving dish. Spoon the sauce over the fillets to coat them completely.

Place the dish in the oven and cook for 8 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately.

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