Quenelles: the easiest recipe for home.
This week we are making French bistro (French café) style fish quenelles with a langoustine and cognac cream sauce using a simple technique that will allow you to make restaurant quality quenelles of any type. the same technique can be used to make amazingly light and tasty fish or chicken quenelles depending on what you prefer.
Enough to make 4 to 8 quenelles depending on size.
For the quenelles:
- 200 grams / 8.8 oz fish fillet (works with any fish). You can also use poultry using the fillets.
- 2 eggs
- 200 ml / 6.7 fluid ozs pure cream (heavy whipping cream)
- 60 grams / 2.1 oz plain butter (has to be a bit soft and cut in cubes)
- Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper for seasoning.
Once made, the mixture must be covered in plastic and left overnight in the fridge.
To poach the quenelles: (always use a spoon plunged in very hot water to shape the quenelles).
- A large pan with plenty of simmering water. Add in it:
- 1 garlic clove cut in half
- A small twig of thyme
- 2 pinches of salt.
Poach the quenelles for 15 minutes. Turn them over every 5 minutes
For the sauce I made:
- 200 grams / 8.8 oz langoustines or tiger prawns or any other crustaceans (the shells have to be bruised with a rolling pin prior to cooking)
- 1 good tablespoon of butter for cooking
- 1 tablespoon carrot (cut in rough cubes)
- 1 tablespoon celery roughly chopped.
- 20 grams / 0.7 oz shallots roughly sliced
- 1 tablespoon finely sliced leek (white part)
- 1 garlic clove (bruised)
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons cognac
- Salt and pepper to season
- 300 ml / 10.14 fl oz fish fumet reduced to 150 ml / 5.07 fl oz
- 200 ml / 6.76 fl oz pure cream (heavy cream)
For the serving:
- Cover the quenelle half way with sauce and bake in the oven for 10 minutes (with the oven element on (broiler / grill) at 190 degrees C / 374F
- Half freeze the fish fillets and place them into a food processor (having first ensured that the bowl of the processor is cold) and blend them to almost a paste (say 20-30 seconds).
- Put the eggs into the processor with the fish and blend for the same time. Season with pepper and salt (and cayenne pepper if desired).
- Restart the processor and slowly pour the cream in and after say 20-30 seconds add in the butter (which should be on the soft side) and keep blending for the same time period.
- Transfer the mixture into a clean bowl and place a sheet of plastic wrap on top, ensuring that the wrap is in total contact with the mix, and rest it in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, bring a pan of water to a simmer, put in the garlic, thyme and salt.
- Using a deep dessert spoon heated in very hot water and then dried, scoop enough mixture to form a quenelle shape and place into the simmering water. Repeat the process until you have the desired number of quenelles.
- After 5 minutes, turn the quenelles over, repeating after another 5 minutes.
- Poach for a further 5 minutes, after which time, the quenelles will be cooked and should be placed on a paper towel to drain. They can then be eaten with a warmed hollandaise sauce or a warmed beurre blanc, but they will be better with a bistrot style sauce as below.
- Melt the butter in a saute pan on a high heat and colour the scampi shells. Add the carrot, garlic, shallots, celery and leeks and mix in. Season with salt and pepper and add tomato paste. Reduce heat a little and stir in, and then reduce heat again to medium and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Raise the heat, and when the pan has heated, add the cognac and (making sure the exhaust fan is off) burn off the fumes, and mix again.
- Add the cream, turn down the heat and mix it in. Allow the cream to reduce a little.
- Reduce the heat to a minimum. Taste the sauce and correct the seasoning if necessary. Cayenne pepper may also be added. Turn off the heat.
- Poach the shelled scampi tails in the fish stock for a few minutes. Remove and reserve them..
- When the fish stock is adequately reduced, pass the cream sauce through a sieve into the stock. Press down on the sauce to extract as much of the flavour as possible. Reduce the stock and sauce to a spoon coating consistency.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190C (374F) ensuring that the top element is on.
- Place the quenelles in an ovenproof dish and surround with the diced scampi tails. Ladle sufficient sauce through a sieve over the quenelles to come half way up.
- Place the dish towards the top of the oven and cook for 10 minutes, by which time the quenelles will be ready to serve.
How to make quenelles video tutorial: