Fish with Creamy Dijon Sauce

I was surprised the first time I cooked this recipe because the taste reminded me of some of the great restaurants that I had frequented in the past. I think it's because of the golden brown slightly crisp coating and the distinctive but not overwhelming sauce. This is certainly light years beyond deep fried fish served with tartar sauce!

1½ lbs. fish fillets or steaks
ground pepper
olive oil
butter (or margarine)
1 C. white wine (or fish stock)
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
1 to 2 T. Dijon mustard
¼ to ½ C. whipping cream
chopped parsley (optional)

Rinse the fish and wipe off any excess moisture with a paper towel or damp cloth. Cut into serving sizes (6 oz. recommended) if desired, or you can portion it up later. Sprinkle with a modest amount of salt and pepper, then roll the fish pieces in flour to coat them.

Preheat a large skillet over a medium heat then add equal amounts of olive oil and butter to get a depth of about 1/8 inch. Continue heating until the olive oil and butter start foaming, but stop before you brown it! Add the fish pieces and adjust the heat to medium-high if the pieces are less than 5/8 inch, or medium if thicker. The thicker steaks will take longer to cook so the heat must be lower to avoid scorching them.

Pan fry the fish until the first side is lightly browned, then turn over (only once) and brown the other side. If the fish is about 1 inch at its thickest part then the cooking time should be about 10 minutes, maybe slightly longer, i.e. 5 minutes per side. Adjust time by a proportional amount, 10 minutes per inch of thickness, so thinner fillets should would take less time. When browned on both sides transfer the fish to a warm serving platter and keep it warm in your oven.

Increase the heat and add some wine, using your judgment depending on how much sauce you expect to need. I often use Chardonnay although a Madeira or dry Sherry might add an interesting touch. Reduce the liquid a bit while stirring, adding more wine if necessary, taking perhaps several minutes. Season the sauce with with nutmeg and about 1 tablespoon mustard, then add ¼ cup whipping cream and blend it in while continuing to stir.

This is the time to adjust the taste and consistency if necessary. Depending on preference you can add a bit more cream. You should have enough sauce for about 4 tablespoons per serving and the sauce should be thicker than cream but not as thick as mustard. Add more nutmeg if necessary but quit as soon as you can taste it, or not much more than that. The mustard should be the same, a bit more than when you just start tasting it. You can of course adjust the taste to your preference, but do not overwhelm the sauce with nutmeg or mustard.

Pour the sauce over the fish, sprinkle with parsley if desired, and serve. The amounts shown in the ingredient list above should make about four 6-ounce servings if you start with 1½ lbs. of fish (24 oz.), or you can proportion the recipe to suit.

Credit: My recipe, inspired by Sunset Seafood Cook Book.

Filed under Seafood   Tagged fish, dinner