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Souffled Sole Creams with Champagne Sauce and Salmon Caviar

This recipe is blissfully easy and all of it can be prepared in advance. In fact, I find it works best if you prepare the purée the day before. Dry white wine can be used instead of Champagne, but if you place an upturned teaspoon in the bottle of Champagne, it will keep its fizz stored in the fridge till your guests arrive.

 Souffled Sole Creams with Champagne Sauce and Salmon Caviar

  Serves 6

 2 oz (50 g) jar salmon caviar
 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
 whole nutmeg
 10 fl oz (275 ml) double cream
 a little butter for greasing
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
 8 oz (225g) boneless, skinless lemon sole fillets
For the sauce:
 6 fl oz (175 ml) Champagne
 ¾ oz (20 g) butter
 1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped
 ¾ oz (20 g) plain flour
 5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream
 6 sprigs fresh chervil, to garnish
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
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You will also need six 1½ inch (4 cm) deep ramekins with a base diameter of 3 inches (7.5 cm), well buttered, and a shallow roasting tin measuring 10 x 14 inches (25.5 x 35 cm).

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Three.


Begin by cutting the lemon sole into pieces about 1½ inches (4 cm) square and placing them in a blender or food processor, along with the lightly beaten eggs, some freshly grated nutmeg and a little salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Now blend until the mixture has turned to a smooth, even purée.

Then transfer it to a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for at least 6 hours or, preferably, overnight. When you're ready to cook the fish creams, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C). Fill the roasting tin with about an inch (2.5 cm) of boiling water and place it on the centre shelf of the oven.

Next, make up the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan and cook the shallot in it over a gentle heat for 5-6 minutes, until softened and golden, but not browned. After that, add the flour to the buttery shallot juices, stir it in and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Now gradually add the Champagne to the pan, a little at a time, then blend in the double cream, whisking until the sauce is smooth. Let it come up to simmering point and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, then taste and add some seasoning. (The shallot can be strained out, if you like.) Now transfer the sauce to a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water to keep warm, without letting the bottom of the bowl touch the water.

About 40 minutes before your guests sit down to eat, return the fish mixture to the blender or food processor, together with the cream, and blend them together thoroughly. Then fill each ramekin three-quarters full with the mixture, place all the ramekins in the tin containing the hot water and cook for exactly 30 minutes.

When the time is up, you need to turn out the creams on to warmed serving plates. Do this by holding each ramekin with a cloth, sliding a small palette knife round the edge and tipping the creams very briefly upside down on to the palm of your hand (they will very hot), then straight on to a plate, the right way up.

Serve as soon as possible, with a little of the sauce spooned over, a teaspoon of salmon caviar on top and garnish with chervil. Hand the rest of the sauce around separately in a warmed jug.


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