Tips on cooking trout quicker.

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by luckyslevin, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. luckyslevin

    luckyslevin

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    Hi, so at my restaurant we do a 8-10 oz trout filet with a seafood stuffing rolled in. Thankfully the fish is very fresh so I'm not terribly worried sending it a little bit under, but it is has one of the longest cooking times in the kitchen, and its ticket is repeatedly getting called after about 10 minutes. I've talked to the chef even and explained it takes longer to cook but he doesn't seem satisfied with that answer. We've resulted to throwing it into a blazing 475 degree oven and finally tossing it under the broiler for a minute but I'm still concerned with it being under in the middle, especially that the seafood stuffing isn't getting very hot. No complaints oddly enough. :-/ I'm thinking of sauteeing 1/4 -1/2 of the way and then rolling and tossing in the oven? Just not terribly sure if the fish would be flexible enough to roll nicely after much cooking.

    Also they asked me to make a lemon butter sauce to go with it, I've just been making a simple buerre blanc, any other ideas?
     
  2. durangojo

    durangojo

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    here's my two cents worth....

    maybe you could go with a smaller fillet, or less stuffing, or perhaps no stuffing at all, but a seafood sauce, like rock lobster or crab meat. personally i think fresh trout is best just pan fried with a little polenta in the flour dredge.....for sauces, staying in the traditional range, which is the only kind of restaurants that still serve trout your way, what about a tangerine butter...or dry vermouth sauce. you could knock off the filling altogether, pan fry and top with a chile lime cream sauce, or jalapeno cream or saffron...if its a beautiful fresh trout, you need to let that shine through...

    joey
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    As Ms. Durangojo pointed out, you're fighting both the farcee and size of the fish.   All of her solutions were good, but here are some others:

    A classic method is to cook en papillote as it spreads the heat more quickly and evenly into the inside of the fish.  It will save some time, but not a whole lot.  And since you don't have the time to start with everything at room temp -- you're still massively screwed.  On the other hand, en papillote is enough of a big-deal presentation that it might be worth holding the ticket for.  I remember a long gone place, "Jack's at the Beach" who used to serve it aglow with lit sparklers (held standing by their stems stuck into the papillote pouch).

    Another possibility is to saute the stuffing just to hot, soon it into the cavity while it's still at temp -- then put the whole thing into a hot pan or oven.  You'll have to try it to see if the extra effort on the line is worth the substantial overall time savings.

    In my opinion, a butterflied trout or pair of fillets plated above, beneath or alongside a separately prepared mound of farce is better for restaurant service anyway.  That way the fish and farce may each be cooked optimally.  This is similar to Joey's suggestion of a "seafood sauce" (Nantua variant maybe?), but with a little more substance to the seafood part of it.  Saucing and garnish possibilities improve compared to your ordinary "stuffed trout" too.  For instance, you can do a well buttered scallop, shrimp, and lobster tail brioche "dressing;" saucing the dressing and fish with a creamy beurre Nantais, horseradish-dill creme fraiche, tangerine (h/t Joey) Hollandaise, pecans in brown butter, or... 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  4. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Just to build on something both Joey and BDL mentioned: You're serving a 10 oz filet with a seafood stuffing. Is that dinner for two? A typical fish portion, nowadays, is 5 oz. You're doubling that, and adding addition seafood as well.

    So, yeah, the first step should be reducing the size of the filet. That will, coincidentally, shorten the cooking time as well.

    I also don't see the need to roll the filet. Pan fried, with you option on the sauces, is both appealing to the patron, speeds the service, and, no small thing, gets Chef off your nether region as well. Basically a win-win way to go.
     
  5. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Both answers above correct.. The stuffing like in a turkey, acts as an insulation from heat conduction to meat. Cook fish buterflied then place on top of preheated stuffing, or place preheated stuffing on top of fish and then under broiler  few seconds. All my fish portions are 7 ounce or close to it, snapper is hard to get on the nose because we serve wholle filet. If I served 5 ounces they would all complain.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  6. greyeaglem

    greyeaglem

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    My two cents: are you using a salamander that has an oven above it? I would butterfly, broil fish inside up until about half done, then put the stuffing on thin (1/2 inch thick) and finish in the top oven. You could put the seafood stuffing on cold in this scenario and the whole dish should take between 10-12 min. to finish. I have long wanted to do a whole catfish with andouille cornbread stuffing in somewhat this way. Never have figured out the logistics of it, but thought if I precooked the stuffing, I could maybe do it in a timely manner. Didn't think to spread the catfish out flat first. Thanks for making me re-think this idea. Might be able to pull it off now.
     
  7. cabotvt

    cabotvt

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    Agreed, you are fighting the stuffing not the trout. I always saute' trout and have the stuffing made separately. You can make it in many shapes then slice the stuffing, under or on the side. I have placed the stuffing on the plate about 1 inch wide and as long as the rib cage then place the fish on top. That way it's looking at the guest saying EAT ME
     
  8. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Years ago I cooked at one of the restaurants which pioneered tiny portions on big plates.   Ever since, I've been too mortified to do anything other than serve big pieces. 

    The big takeaway from this thread, even though it isn't new, is how much  Durangojo brings creativity to the straight-forward.  Don't know about you, but the tangerine butter has me salivating, and she got me thinking about a tequila-chile-lime beurre blanc.  Oh mama.

    Hey Ed, how would that work on your snapper?

    BDL
     
  9. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    How big is big, BDL?

    I mean, a 2 oz square of fish on a 14" platter is one thing (and what a joke that was!). But that doesn't make the idea of a 10 oz fish with a couple more ounces of seafood stuffing any more of a reasonable portion.

    So, what would you say is a good portion size for fish?
     
  10. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    KY,

    Not the right person to ask.  My 8 to 12 oz per for most fish is an obvious overtrain.  If I had a restaurant I'd offer a choice of reasonable or ridiculous portions  for (most) proteins. 

    An order of my favorite filetes sarandeado at my current favorite fish place,  Mariscos Martin No. 2, is at least 16 oz of fish -- dressed out. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  11. durangojo

    durangojo

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    alrighty then, now that bdl has thoroughly embarassed me, do i need to leave town? change my name? put on groucho marx glasses? i do like the idea of some sort of dressings mentioned to put the fish on or aside to....maybe a huge grilled crouton, or risotto cake or a bed of sauteed chard or fried spinach...i would not go bigger than 6 ounces...7 tops.... you actually want to be able to sell desserts without the customers holding their stomachs and feeling a bit sick all the way home.....no bdl,.bigger is not necessarily better...to the op, i don't know how your kitchen is set up or works, but if the chef wants what he wants(meaning the dish doesn't change), can the waitstaff possibly fire the ticket, but hold back on the salad or app to give the kitchen a bit of breathing room? we still use hand written tickets, so if i get a mw filet(don't even go there), and i know its gonna take 25 minutes, i ask the waitstaff to hold back on serving the salad course..it seems to buy me just enough time and for the customer the meal flow is better...

    joey
     
  12. gypsy2727

    gypsy2727

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    Joey ....your tangerine butter ....I'm already making plans for a plate of Rainbow with that wonderful thought in mind...thank-you

    Pay no mind to the testosterone...Are we not totally cool with that by now? ..Stay cool like that.  Not  much is going to change ...well in our lifetime anyhow...LOL

    I am a fan of the big fish plate ( or platter) I am from one of the best fishing provinces in all of Canada...Lake trout (Rainbow)....my personal favorite besides Pickerel.

    I like the original thread idea of the seafood stuffing. It would be nice to saute diced shallots and green apple and add into your existing buerre blanc with a little curry...

    I am actually surprised you are having trouble with a fast cooking trout ..in my experience it has been one of the faster cooking fishes...so rich in oil and flavor ...just a flash in the pan and a finish in the oven ....Maybe your oven needs to be calibrated?

    just some thoughts
     
  13. highlander01

    highlander01

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    Durangojo would you mind posting a recipe for that tangerine butter for us lowly cook at home kinda people please?
     
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Trout is a little weird to portion, as you're serving a whole fish and are kind of stuck with whatever's best quality rather than perfectly sized. 

    A hangover from back when I still cooked for money, I can sleep through fabricating an infinite number of 6oz fillet portions from big loins or sides, and 8oz steaks from big round fish -- plus or minus some ridiculously tight tolerance.  I'm not extolling supposed virtues or trying to ram particular sizes down your throats.  Anyone who's done a lot of fish has a set of preferred sizes deeply ingrained.

    My set runs too large.  Oh well.

    BDL
     
  15. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    For the OP I would crisp to color (Sounds like you are sautteing or broiling) and then put a lid on it to get at the stuffing (Yes a little self steaming) with perhaps a final minute or two under the salamander. The lid will cut your time by 1/4 probably.
     
  16. chefedb

    chefedb

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    BDL. I think it depends on the type of place, and what you are charging. Another big factor is the age of the patron. I find here in Florida in the Palm Beaches I can get away with a smaller portion on the entree. .I still ,under normal circumstance try and cut almost all my fish 7 ounce. Also if your serving Tapas style it should be much smaller, but more variety. Trout hard to cut 7 ounce cause it's whole fish, but you can buy them cleaned and boned IQF in various sizes.
     
  17. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    According to the OP, he's starting with filets, not whole fish. And they're available in various sizes.

    I wonder, too, how his Chef expects 10 minute cooking time. If we start with the general rule of thumb (i.e., 10 minutes per inch of thickness), even without the stuffing a rolled filet will likely be more than an inch thick. Add even a modicum of seafood stuffing, and you're way beyond that.

    So, portion size aside, the choice seems to be 1. increase the allowable cook time, or, 2. cook the fish flat with the various sauces/fillings cooked separately.

    Personally, I'd still reduce the portion size. A six ounce filet, topped with seafood sauce, is quite a serving IMO. Particularly if there are sides involved.
     
  18. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Same thing with trout fillets -- and just about any small fish for that matter.  Portion size is basically determined by the size of the fish itself.  Very few places are going to have you trim an ounce to meet an arbitrary weight goal. 

    FWIW, if you're getting dressed out fillets at 10oz, those were some healthy fish.  When I read  8 - 10 oz fillets, I figured butterflied, head off, filleted whole trout (which is fairly typical around here), rather than a filleted side. 

    BDL
     
  19. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I didn't mean reduce by cutting an inch of a filet, BDL, but by buying smaller filets in the first place.

    I used to know a guy who ran a trout farm, and they sold dressed, in the round fish weighing from 8 oz upwards. You can imagine what would be left if you fileted out an 8 oz dressed trout. On the other hand, a 10 oz filet had to come, as you say, from a very healthy fish. But that's what I envisioned when the OP said: "we do a 8-10 oz trout filet with a seafood stuffing rolled in."

    I'm trying to translate from wild fish---which isn't always comparable. An 18" rainbow will run, roughly, 3 pounds. Assume the usual rule-of-thumb loss of 1/3, and you'd have 2 pounds dressed. Drop the head and bones, and we're down to about a pound and a half butterflied fish. Split that in half and you've got 12 ounces per filet.

    Based on that, I'd guess you need to start with a 15" fish to wind up with 10 ounce filets. And that is, indeed, a pretty healthy trout.
     
  20. durangojo

    durangojo

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    first off, just cuz you don't cook for a living, certainly doesn't make you lowly!...i will give you two tangerine butter variations that i use...just ingredients...you can figure out the amounts...#1.... butter, honey or agave, tangerine juice and zest, minced shallots, chives...sometimes orangecello if i have it...#2...tangerine juice and zest, honey or agave, scallions, ginger, toasted sesame oil(drops), tamari(drops)......for both butters...mix everything together...i use a small portion scoop(1/2 to 1 oz), as i like the looks on the fish, but you could just as easily make a roll, then slice...

    joey