Thursday, July 30, 2009

Court Bouillon

(Pronounced "Coubare.") Start with Redfish or Red Snapper but made shift with halibut or any other firm fine-grained fish perfectly fresh. Take three pounds of it, wash very clean, and cut in six equal slices with a very sharp knife. There must be no rags and tatters. Melt a heaping tablespoonful of lard in a deep kettle, add to it gradually two tablespoonfuls flour, stirring hard so it shall not burn. Throw into it a dozen pounded alspice, three sprigs each of thyme, parsley, bay leaf and sweet marjoram chopped fine, one small clove of garlic, one large onion also chopped fine, and either six large fresh tomatoes, chopped small, or half a can—those from glass are best. Pour in a large glass of claret, add a quart of boiling water, and bring all to a very brisk boil. Cook for five minutes, then add salt and Cayenne pepper to taste. Boil five minutes longer, then lay in the fish slices one at a time, following them with the strained juice of a lemon. Boil hard twenty minutes longer. Serve hot.

To make Court Bouillon a la Espagnole, stir together as above, lard and flour, taking care to have them smooth, add a large onion, six tomatoes, clove of garlic, sprigs of sweet basil and thyme, all chopped fine, along with two whole bay leaves. Brown all nicely, taking care not to burn, then add a quart of boiling water, bring to a boil and cook two or three minutes. Have six thick slices of fine, firm fresh fish, rub them well over with salt and pepper, lay in a dish and pour over a large cup of white wine boiling hot. Vinegar answers, but wine is better. Lay the fish slices in the pot, handling carefully, add the wine, and simmer until tender—about half an hour commonly. Take up carefully so as not to break, lay in a deepish dish, remove bay leaves from the gravy and pour over the fish. Finish with a garnish of sliced lemon, and serve with either boiled rice or whole boiled potatoes.

From "Dishes & Beverages of the Old South", by Martha McCulloch Williams, 1913

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