Because of this, I've always felt that it's pretty intimidating to attempt French food. As if somewhere, a panel of unrelenting judges will strike you from the kitchen should you not recreate a dish perfectly. You'll be banished to a life of raw and fast food eats for the remainder of your days.
That's not at all true, though French food can seem complicated. The recipes seem to have innumerable ingredients with highly complex steps. But when I happened to catch an episode of French Food at Home on the Cooking Channel, Laura Calder made it actually seem doable. Not "easy" but definitely less difficult than I had previously believed. So I attempted her Fish Mousseline with Sauce Nantua. Translation: fish mousse with a creamy shrimp sauce.
I was heading to my parents' house the next day for a family dinner, and knew that my very picky little brother has just recently started eating fish. We had gathered at Chez Mommy & Daddy to watch the Giants take out the 'Niners in the NFC championship playoffs, so I decided to test this on them.
My parents are pretty adventurous, and they too like to experiment with new recipes, so they're the perfect test subjects. My brother could always order a pizza if he didn't like it.
The sauce was quite simple, surprisingly. Butter, onions, carrots, shrimp, herbs, set them on fire then add cream and puree. It was the first time I've flambéd a dish. That was fun. Fire! We like fire here at Girl + Fire.
Then came the fish mousse. I don't know what I did wrong, but it was overly watery, so it never set properly. I could blame the blender that created butter out of the cream, but that was my fault. So I had both a watery and buttery mousse. Split personality mousse. I should have drained the liquid. And probably used a food processor instead of a blender. Tip for next time.
The Giants ended up winning that game (and then the Super Bowl! AGAIN!). We ended up loving the creamy shrimp sauce. The fish mousse...eh. But if I learned nothing else, it's that French food ain't that scary after all.
You can find the original recipe here.