“We are geographically well off in Montreal, sitting on the shores of the seafood superhighway that is the St. Lawrence Seaway. From the Gaspé Peninsula to Kamouraska, Montreal to Portland, Maine, the seaway has a tremendous influence on what we eat.” – Book One
April is a wild time in Montreal; the epitome of “twitterpaned,” as explained by the annoying yet wise owl to Bambi and Thumper and Flower. Our obsessive excitement is not for the opposite sex but rather for all that cold and fresh seafood on the banks of our icy maritime shores. And so, come early spring when we begin receiving our first snow crab, we throw reason out the window and set up tables in shoveled-out snowbanks in our garden terrace. Not warm enough for seafood platters on ice, we devised a warm seafood fish pie: lobster from Grande-Rivière, snow crab from Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, whelks from Sept-Îles, Matane shrimp, scallops from Jean-Paul Riopelle’s Isle-ax-Grues, and Reine-like turbot from Rimouski. All cooked in a warm potato velouté. Enjoy feverishly in boots and parka.
You will need:
Piping bag with the largest pastry tip
Large Pyrex or Le Creuset baking dish, similar to what you use for shepherd’s pie
For the pommes duchesse
4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream (35 percent butterfat)
Salt and white pepper
For the velouté
1/4 cup (57 g) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
3 cups (720 ml) whole milk
1 cup (240 ml) fish stock or clam juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream (35 percent butterfat)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and white pepper
For the filling
4 ounces (120 g) cooked lobster meat (from one 1-pound lobster)
4 ounces (120 g) whelk meat, finely sliced (typically comes in a jar)
4 ounces (120 g) fresh or frozen Nordic shrimp (aka Maine shrimp)
4 ounces (120 g) bay scallops
4 ounces (120 g) steamed and shelled mussels (from one pound of mussels)
1/2 pound (225 g) turbot fillet
1 Yukon Gold potato, cut into cubes the size of playing dice
7 ounces (200 g) lardons (bacon slices cut into 1/2-inch-/1-cm-thick bâtons)
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh chervil
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the garnish
Egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 3 tablespoons whole milk)
2 sets snow crab legs, thawed, and cracked lengthwise (using kitchen shears)
1 tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C)
2. For the pommes duchesse: Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover them. Bring to boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Pass the potatoes through a ricer.
3. In a bowl, stir the potatoes with the egg yolks, butter, cream, and salt and white pepper. Reserve in a piping bag with the biggest piping tip, such as the classic plain #24 (11/16”)
4. For the velouté: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the mustard and flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the milk, fish stock, cream, cayenne, and lemon juice, and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
5. Add all the filling ingredients to your velouté.
6. Butter the inside of a Pyrex/Le Creuset/copper pot. Transfer the filling mixture to your vessel. Inside the dish, pipe the pommes duchesse in a way to make it look like fish scales. If that OTT (over the top), simply pipe in a spiral to follow the shape of the dish.
7. Brush with the egg wash. Just before putting the dish in the oven, place the crab legs sticking out the dish as if it were crawling.
8. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pie is hot inside and golden brown outside. Finish with a dusting of Old bay to garnish.
Excerpted from Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse by Frédéric Morin, David McMillan and Meredith Erickson. Copyright © 2018 by Frédéric Morin, David McMillan and Meredith Erickson. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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