Food & Drink » Glenda Bartosh on Food

The art of good fish

Cooked or painted, fish deliver beautifully

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A brilliant treatment worthy of fish

In my books, poaching fish in a classic court bouillon (French for "short boil") is about as brilliant a treatment as they can get. These recipes from The Gourmet Cookbook have stood the test of time. Try them and you'll see that fish cooked in a court bouillon is as good cold as it is hot — perfect for lighter summer suppers.

Bring to a boil one quart of water with one small onion stuck with two or three cloves; one slice of lemon; the leafy part of a stalk of celery; two sprigs of parsley; 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (preferably rock salt or sea salt); four peppercorns; and half a bay leaf. Simmer it for 15 minutes, then store in the fridge and use as needed to poach your fish. Keep to the "10 minutes an inch" cooking rule even for poaching.

For a wine court bouillon, combine one quart each of dry white or red wine and water with one tablespoon salt; two small carrots; two medium onions thinly sliced; 12 bruised peppercorns; two cloves and a bouquet garni of six sprigs of parsley tied with one sprig of thyme, four green celery tops and two large bay leaves. Simmer 30 minutes. Store cold and use it to poach fish — in the good sense of the word "poach" — to your heart's content.

Glenda Bartosh is an award-winning journalist who loves to watch fish swim in clear lakes.