JULIA: This poor fish should never have left home.
He'’’s about to be scraped, scaled, scissored, eviscerated, salted, seasoned and seared.
See his ordeal by fire when we do flaming fish today on The French Chef.
♪ ♪ ANNOUNCER: The French Chef is made possible by a grant from the Polaroid Corporation.
Welcome to The French Chef.
I'’’m Julia Child.
Today, we'’’re going to do a very famous Provençal French recipe called loup grillé flambé au fenouil.
And it'’’s a really... it'’’s a marvelous recipe, just as good as it sounds, '’’cause you end up with a beautiful, whole fish that'’’s tender and juicy, and it tastes like just what it is-- a beautiful, fresh bass.
And here it is.
And I'’’m just going to go through the whole thing of scaling and cleaning it for you.
And this is a very nice French fish scaler, and it has these little serrated teeth in a rather cute heart shape.
And besides being cute, it does a good job of just catching the scales.
If you don'’’t have one, of course, you can use a knife, or you might have a shrimp sheller with serrated teeth, which also does pretty well, too.
But you have to get the scales off, because otherwise, when you ate the fish, you might get some scales in between your... in your teeth, in between your teeth.
Now, for this recipe, you can use either...
This is a striped bass, or you could use a surf fish or a trout or even a salmon.
Any... any good fresh fish.
And it'’’s particularly nice if you'’’ve caught it yourself, because it'’’s a recipe where the fish just has to be of the best quality possible.
Now, after the scales come off, you have to take off some of the fins.
And I want you to see on the striped bass, you want to be very careful.
Look at that top fin on the back there.
That is a real killer.
I don'’’t know what he does with that in the ocean, but you can just ruin yourself if you get pricked by one of those spines.
And then take the fins off on the rest of the back.
And then there'’’s two little things under the gills on each side.
And then down on the stomach.
These are some very tough... fish knife that I got in France.
But I think, if you go to a good store here, they ought to have some good, tough kind of kitchen knives.
You want to make sure that you got all your scales off.
Run your... run your hand over it just to feel that you have, like down on the stomach.
And then, as soon as it'’’s... you are sure that the fins are all off, it is ready to be de-gutted, or the more polite word-- eviscerated.
I don'’’t know why we have to have so many euphemisms for things.
I'’’m going to wash off the fish, to get the scales off... before continuing.
And then get some of the scales off from all over here.
Actually, I wanted you to see... see the scales coming off, but actually, I think it'’’s easier to do them under running water so they don'’’t get all over you and all over the kitchen.
It certainly is convenient having one of these garbage chewers in the sink, '’’cause they chew up all of the scales and everything else.
There'’’s another clean surface.
And we'’’re going go into the... into the evisceration.
But first, I want to... well, a few indications on freshness.
One very sure indication is the eyes.
And if it'’’s very fresh, the eyes are very clear, and they also pop out.
This was not, obviously, caught today, '’’cause the eyes have sunk down just a little bit.
But otherwise, they'’’re beautifully clear.
And, of course, you can always tell by the smell that the fish...
If it has a fishy smell, it'’’s stale.
It should smell fresh and appetizing.
And another indication is the way the gills look.
They should look fresh and red.
These are of a quite good color.
And they'’’re not slimy.
I think, if they'’’re... if they'’’re an off color, well, the fish would smell anyway.
But now, to start cleaning the fish, you want to take the gills out first.
And they'’’re connected up under the chin here, and they'’’re connected at the back of the head on each side, and then underneath, they'’’re also connected to the whole visceral bunch of stuff, which runs right down to the vent opening here.
So I always start by using the scissors on each end, and then up at the top up here on each side.
And I find that, to clean a fish, I need about four... three or four kinds of scissors.
Certainly one very sharp, pointed one.
I'’’m doing the gills on the lower part.
Now, if you saw our famous French fish professor, Madame Pasquier, she was able to clean the whole fish by grabbing hold of the gills and pulling... (grunts) ...out, and with it, all of the viscera came out.
I didn'’’t get that.
All of the guts came right out through the gill opening.
And if you'’’re very clever... (grunts) ...see, you can get... Well, quite a... quite a lot of them came out.
That'’’s not a... not a bad trick there.
But I'’’m not as clever as she is, so I'’’m going to go in through the other slit.
Slit the soft underbelly, starting at this little vent opening here, and just coming right up to the part where those little fins came from under the neck.
And then, with heavy scissors cutting right through in between them, and then cutting up to the chin.
I think you want to be... for the whole fish to look nice, you want to be sure to leave the attachment here.
You see where the body part is attached to under the chin, but just leave that attached.
Well, I actually did get practically everything out.
That'’’s a remarkable feat.
And then there'’’s... sometimes there'’’s a blood vein down through the middle of there, and you want to scrape that open.
I think it'’’s terribly useful to know how to clean your own fish, because... well, supposing you... you are a fisherman, and anyway, very often, a lot of... sometimes, because this kind of handwork is beginning to go out, I think the more that you know how to do yourself, the better.
I'’’m now going to wash this off.
It'’’s a part of do-it-yourself-ism, and... And being... being able to take care of any emergency.
Some people do not wash a fish after it'’’s clean.
They feel that it takes some of the flavor out, but I think, in that case, they must be very neat people.
But I always find that I certainly do need to wash it.
We'’’ll clean everything else up.
And now this fish is ready... ready to be cooked.
Or it is also... if you have caught the fish yourself, you should really de-gut it just as soon as possible, because it'’’s the visceral cavity that begins to go off first.
And it'’’s also very important that if you'’’re not going to cook the fish immediately, that you keep it iced.
And that means cover it... put it in a big pan with ice on the bottom and ice on the top, and put it in the refrigerator.
The Bureau of Fisheries has found that if you can keep a fish at 30.5 degrees, that it'’’s going to keep fresh, really, several days.
And it works remarkably well.
So now, it'’’s all dried off, ready to cook, and I'’’m going to season it.
There'’’s some salt in the cavity.
A little fresh pepper.
I have to do it in a little jar first and squish it in.
And then I'’’m going to oil the top-- oil it.
On each side.
This is now ready to cook.
Either... you could cook it either on a barbecue, or you could cook it roasted in the oven.
We'’’re going to roast it in the oven.
But you do it exactly the same way on the barbecue, which is nice.
So this recipe we'’’re doing is loup grillé flambé au fenouil.
And loup means... is spelled L-O-U-P, and it means a Mediterranean sea bass.
And fenouil is fennel.
And how this recipe works is you first season the fish with fennel, and then you cook it.
And then, after it'’’s cooked, you flame it in fennel just before you serve it.
And fennel-- this is a picture of what fennel is.
You see, it'’’s a long, stalky plant, and it ends in little flowers.
And then the flowers develop little seeds, which are fennel.
And this is a book by Frederic Rosengarten called The Book of Spices, and is a very... a very good one for pictures and so forth.
I want you to see what the fennel looks like.
These are the seeds from the flowers.
They'’’re just little seeds that have an anise-y, licorice-y taste.
And then these... this is the stalks of the plant.
And this grows wild in the Mediterranean.
And it also grows wild on the Pacific Coast.
And the people, they gather up the stalks, and you fold them up into bundles and let them dry like this.
And, then for the flaming of the fish, they light the fennel, and in the smoke, they turn the cooked fish just before they'’’re serving it.
You don'’’t have to have the fennel stalks.
You can do the recipe without it.
But when we were in Cannes, my husband and I, we went to one of our favorite restaurants that'’’s in the South of France, and we lunched.
And we wanted to see how they did it.
And even though they were terribly busy, they took us right into the kitchen, and the chef showed me how he prepared the fish.
First, he dried it in a towel.
And then he salted it.
(both speaking French) JULIA: Seeds-- fennel seeds.
(conversation continues in French) Oil... oil it up?
(chef speaking French) (both speaking French) JULIA: Peanut oil.
(conversation continues in French) (sizzling) -This is such good wine.
-It'’’s lovely, yeah.
-This is the Muscadet.
-Nice, isn'’’t it?
-Wow, that'’’s beautiful.
-Do you heat the fennel first?
-WAITER: Oh, yes.
JULIA: Oh, you heat it, too.
WAITER: This fennel is in the cellar -since a month, maybe.
-JULIA: I see.
-So, to be very, very dry.
-PAUL: Thoroughly dry.
-JULIA: Yeah, yeah.
-WAITER: If it is not dry, -a lot of smoke and no flavor.
Oh, this is the great drama of the fish.
-Like a caged prisoner.
-JULIA: Oh, and you put... And this is... is this Armagn... -Armagnac?
JULIA: And that is... Oh, yes.
And that is so it will flame.
And we put the fire on.
PAUL: It better taste good -after all this.
If the fish isn'’’t quite already cooked, it'’’s recooked... WAITER: It'’’s already cooked in the kitchen, yes.
-JULIA: It'’’s already cooked.
-WAITER: Just cooked, you see.
-Not too much, because... -JULIA: Yeah.
PAUL: It'’’s got inside flavoring, and then it'’’s got this outside flavoring.
-WAITER: Now, there we are.
JULIA: I see why you want the Armagnac, because that... that really gets it going.
Armagnac doesn'’’t change the taste, you see.
-WAITER: It'’’s a good alcohol.
-WAITER: It'’’s a good fish.
It'’’s the smoke that'’’s what gives it the... PAUL: Yeah, that'’’s what does it.
It'’’s very subtle, isn'’’t it?
WAITER: Subtle, yes.
You'’’ll see, that'’’s why.
-But it'’’s also got fenouil... -JULIA: And there'’’s that little bit of fennel... fennel seed inside.
-So you get...
But also, it'’’s not too pronounced.
It'’’s a very, very delicate flavor.
-Oh, it is.
PAUL: I wonder what we could use in America instead of fennel.
-We can'’’t even get fennel... -JULIA: Oh, yes, you can.
(waiter speaking French) PAUL: We used to use those pine nut... JULIA: Mmm, well, that would be a different thing.
-PAUL: Probably wouldn'’’t taste quite right.
JULIA: Well, we'’’ll find something -that'’’ll be just right.
-PAUL: Yeah, we must.
-Ah, now... -Voilà.
-WAITER: There we are.
JULIA: Well, the fish came out.
(grunts) So, I would like to see how they serve these things.
PAUL: And the thing that'’’s remarkable to me is that they always... they use a spoon instead of a knife.
-WAITER: Spoon and fork.
-JULIA: I know.
-JULIA: A spoon and fork.
-WAITER: Spoon and fork.
WAITER: A spoon and fork is necessary for the bones, you see?
It still makes it still juicy, which it should be.
PAUL: Yes, it'’’s marvelous.
JULIA: And it'’’s also... you can tell when it'’’s done.
I asked the chef, and he said you open up the inside, and if you can see that it'’’s all white, that there isn'’’t any blood in the bone.
And the bone comes off, right?
PAUL: I must say, the fish is very cooperative, or else the waiter is extremely skilled.
-One of those, huh?
JULIA: One often hears people say it should be done until it flakes, which is not right.
It just has to remain juicy like this.
This is going to be something great.
And, of course, the importance is of having that very fresh fish, -which is so lovely.
-WAITER: Oh, yes.
WAITER: If it is not fresh, you see, the bone... the meat stay on the bone, and then you can'’’t take it off like that, you see?
JULIA: It has to be very fresh, '’’cause there isn'’’t any sauce to hide things.
WAITER: Oh, yes.
-And now... -It'’’s lovely.
Just nice melted butter on it.
-PAUL: No sauce.
(speaking French) JULIA: I like the melted butter, because... WAITER: Much better than the sauce, huh?
I think so, because it'’’s very... -Doesn'’’t change the taste.
(Paul and waiter speaking French) JULIA: '’’Cause I think, if you have... Well, it'’’s so delicate, the taste.
-You just don'’’t want to mask it with anything.
That really is a delicious way to do fish.
And you don'’’t have to have these stalks, though they'’’re a great deal of fun to have.
I don'’’t really think all the flambé-ing does a great deal to it.
It'’’s very dramatic.
But you can always buy these fennel seeds as you just look around in your market in the sort of gourmet-type section.
You'’’ll find... you'’’ll find fennel seeds.
Now, here'’’s our fish, all ready to go, and it'’’s already had its oil.
And it'’’s salt-and-peppered, and this is about a three-and-a-half-pound fish, and I'’’m going to put in about a teaspoon fennel seeds.
And in many... in many instances in Provence, they also put the fennel stalks, if they have them, in the fish.
But as the chef said, that the seeds really give more flavor anyway.
And because I have, as usual, a pan that doesn'’’t quite fit...
I mean, a fish that doesn'’’t quite fit the pan, I'’’m going to put some aluminum foil on its... around its head and its tail.
And it'’’s a good idea anyway to cover the tail with aluminum foil, '’’cause that will keep it from... that will keep it from burning as you go into the oven.
I mean, as it goes into the oven.
And there are other ways to flame the fish-- as you'’’re going to see-- that you don'’’t have to have the stalks.
And as a matter of fact, you don'’’t have to do any flaming.
This is just an extremely good way to cook a fish.
And I like the idea of not having to have a stuffing in it.
That you just have to... that you just have a little flavoring, and it just makes the whole cooking of a fish very easy.
And this is to go into a 400-degree oven in the upper third.
And what it does, it just roasts.
You don'’’t... you don'’’t baste it at all, '’’cause it has a good, thick skin.
And it'’’s nicely oiled up, and it'’’s going to cook about half an hour.
And you'’’re going to see I'’’ve got another fish in here, and I'’’m going to show you how it looks when it'’’s done.
But then, while it'’’s... while it'’’s cooking, I want to show you a sauce.
And though it'’’s very nice just to have melted butter, I though you might like another kind of sauce that'’’s a lemon butter.
And a very easy one, and an uncooked one.
And you want the grated peel of one lemon.
This is a sauce that was sent... the idea of which was sent to me by my colleague, Simone Beck, who got it from one of her friends in the Cercle des Gourmettes in Paris.
And her name was Francois Renier, and so I call it a beurre Francois.
So there'’’s the grated peel of one lemon.
And then it has one stick of soft butter in it.
As you see, it'’’s a very simple and very nice sauce.
And then we want the grated peel...
I mean, the grated juice-- that would be a nice thing-- the juice of one-half lemon, which is going to be gradually beaten in here, along with a little bit of cream.
I want to start adding about a spoonful or two of heavy cream.
And you... you have to add it all rather gradually, or the butter won'’’t absorb it.
And then, after you'’’ve added the butter and the lemon juice...
I mean, after the lemon juice and the cream, and seasoned it, you'’’re going to put in any fish-cooking juices.
And what it does is to make a very light butter that just melts as you put it on the fish.
And now a little bit of salt and pepper, and that'’’s all there is to it.
That'’’s pepper from a grinder and a little bit of salt.
And it'’’s a very, very nice sauce.
It'’’s really not a sauce at all-- a butter.
Now, the fish, after half an hour, should be done, and keep your eye on in.
You can tell when it'’’s done because it just begins to exude juice.
There'’’s just some juices that have just begun to exude.
I'’’m going to take off the paper here, and then show you how it looks when it'’’s done.
'’’Cause you certainly don'’’t want to overcook fish.
Now, look as you lift up on the inside.
It is a little difficult to see because there'’’s so many fennel seeds in here.
But there shouldn'’’t be... there shouldn'’’t be anything red inside.
It should all be white.
And also, another thing, if you'’’re not quite sure, cut open a little bit of its back.
And if the skin...
I mean, if the flesh comes... just comes off the bone, it'’’s done.
But you just don'’’t want to overcook it.
And you certainly don'’’t want to cook it until it flakes easily, '’’cause it must be lovely and juicy.
And then... onto the platter.
I'’’m just going to save those juices for my sauce.
And the little... a little parsley decoration.
They say, if you had put... You can also put a little bit on top of the... of that rather roomy eye.
What is nice here that the fish hasn'’’t... the gills haven'’’t... the gills haven'’’t opened, and because you were very careful in the way that you left the chin attached, that the fish has stayed closed nicely.
And I'’’m not going to put very much more than that on.
And the juices are going to go into the sauce.
Into the lemon butter.
And a little bit of chopped parsley.
I think you'’’ll find this is a very, very nice butter.
You can use it not only for fish, but you could use it for vegetables.
If you were using asparagus, you could just beat a little water into it.
Well, the idea that it'’’s... that it'’’s lighter than butter.
And so it'’’s not too heavy, but it gives you just about what you want in the way of a sauce.
And now this fish is ready to serve.
And you can serve it just as it is, or you can flame it.
I'’’m going to flame it.
(gas lamp hissing) And here I have a gas lamp.
And this is flaming without the fennel stalks.
But I have the fennel seeds, and I'’’m going to put in about half... a good half teaspoon or so of them.
And then either cognac or Armagnac-- about a quarter to a third of a cup.
And then you have to wait until you can see it begin to steam, and then until it begins to bubble.
It'’’s now just beginning to bubble.
And we'’’ll let it bubble a little bit more.
There she goes.
And now I'’’m going to flame it.
That'’’s really just about as good as those fennel stalks.
In fact, possibly... Well, we don'’’t have the basket, which you can see you don'’’t need basket, either.
Loup flambé au fenouil.
(chuckling): I didn'’’t do that.
Now I'’’m going to show you how to serve it.
And the maître d'’’hôtel-- of course, he'’’s done a great many more fish than I have-- opens it from the stomach side, and I find I prefer to open it from the backside.
But the bone structure is just a flat bone.
And the skin, you can just peel right off after you'’’ve slit it.
And then you have these nice, big pieces of meat on either side.
And this three-and-a-half-pound fish will serve four people.
And with it, I would serve... and here goes the butter on top, and the potatoes.
And for wine, you can serve a Muscadet or a... or a Riesling wine.
And there is your loup flambé.
And there'’’s one bone that I'’’m going to take out.
So you really don'’’t have to go to the Mediterranean to have this famous French dish.
You can do it yourself with your own fish that you have caught in your own magnificent way of flambé-ing with fennel seeds and liquor.
So that'’’s all for today on The French Chef.
This is Julia Child.
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH access.wgbh.org ANNOUNCER: This program was made possible by a grant from Polaroid Corporation.
Julia Child is the author of From Julia Child'’’s Kitchen, which includes the recipes from this program.