Zander im Ofen Gebacken mit Weisswein

A delicious recipe from Germany, Zander im Ofen Gebacken mit Weisswein (sahn-dair im aw-fehn gch-bah-kcn mitt vys-vinc) is a lovely way to serve fish. French beans and creamed potatoes would be the ideal accompaniments.

4-6 SERVINGS

1 x

3 lb. pike, cleaned, with the eyes removed and the head and tail left on

4 streaky bacon slices, rinds removed and finely chopped I-2 oz. butter

2 onions, thinly sliced and pushed out into rings

2 carrots, scraped and thinly sliced

1 leek, trimmed, cleaned and sliced

12 fl. oz. dry white wine

6 black peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt bouquet garni, consisting of

4 parsley sprigs,

1 thyme spray and

1 bay leaf tied together

1 tablespoon beurre manie

2 tablespoons double cream

Wash the fish thoroughly in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper towels. Set aside.

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

In a large fish kettle or baking tin, fry the bacon pieces over moderate heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until they are golden brown all over and have rendered most of their fat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the fish kettle or tin and set aside. Add the butter to the bacon fat and, when the foam subsides, add the onions, carrots and leek and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Pour over the wine and add the peppercorns, salt and bouquet garni. Add the fish and bacon and cover the fish kettle or tin with aluminium foil. Transfer the kettle or tin to the centre of the oven and bake the fish for 30 to 40 minutes or until the fish flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Remove the kettle or tin from the oven and, using two large spoons, carefully transfer the fish to a large, warmed serving dish. Keep warm while you finish the sauce.

Strain the cooking liquid into a medium-sized saucepan. Place the pan over low heat and add the beurre manic, a little at a time, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce is smooth and fairly thick. Stir in the cream.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the sauce over the fish. Serve immediately.

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