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--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Monday, December 3, 2007

Fricos and Sole Goujonettes with Paprika Salt

"Huh?" I hear you say..."What the heck is a goujonette?"

This, my dear friends, is a fine example of how menu writers get you to pay more money when you go out to eat. I bet you wouldn't consider $28 excessive for "sole goujonettes", but would you pay that amount for "fish sticks"? Because that's basically what these are.

The Gourmet Cookbook explains to us that goujon is French for "gudgeon", which is a slender little fish found in Europe somewhere. This word has been appropriated to describe any strip of fish that is deep-fried. It would be as if we called fish sticks "anchovyettes", or "sardinettes".

OK, now granted sole IS an expensive fish. So if you were eating fried sole strips you could expect to pay more than if you were eating something slightly less expensive, like pollack (which is the fish you're eating at McDonald's and in the cafeteria.)

All this aside, Sole Goujonettes with Paprika Salt is fine way to fry fish--it's not too far actually from the Italian Fried Salt Cod posted below except that you use seltzer to mix up the batter. The one thing I don't understand is why on earth anybody would put salt on the side for "dipping". There is salt in the batter already, and you are directed to salt the fried fish once they come out of the oil--why would you want more if it's properly seasoned? This is where you want contrasting flavor-- malt vinegar, lemons or tarter sauce, or even ketchup if you must.

The recipe on Epicurious mentions only paprika for the salt--sweet paprika I mean, but the book suggests smoked paprika, and I did use that. I wasn't sure about it--it seemed an overwhelming flavor but when it was all said and done I actually didn't detect the smokiness in the fish. So don't go out of your way to get smoked paprika for this dish, is my point.

Here's another nice picture by Romulo Yanes:


Fricos are one of those ridiculously easy recipes that make you look good. It's just grated parm, flour and pepper, baked on a sil-pat for ten minutes. If you don't have a sil-pat pan liner, ask Santa for a couple--they can be found at places like Bed, Bath and Beyond. They are amazingly handy when it comes to stuff like this--actually, there are some recipes that can be baked successfully ONLY on sil-pats.

Here's a picture:

I had a moment of confusion when I was baking these, because I remembered making them at Yanks and draping them over a rolling pin to get a nice shape. These did not drape--they were very stiff. I also remembered the sous at the Emerson just sprinkling grated parm in a non-stick frying pan to make these...yes, there are two ways to make them. If you want stiff crackers, go with the cheese + flour recipe. If you want to make a curvy shape or a cone, or a cup to put some kind of filling in, just sprinkle grated parm in a pan and let it melt and turn golden.

Here's a picture of that:

This is a great technique that should be part of any foodie's repertoire. Try one of these on top of a caesar salad and you'll get oohs and aahs. I promise.

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