More sage counsel from Marguerite Patten – tackling the main course. This is the last part of her ‘Putting it right’ section, although there is much benign didacticism in other parts of the book, which will be added at a later date.
Fish slightly over-cooked and dry, also inclined to break
Use extra melted butter in the sauce or topping to counteract the dry texture. Lift the fish on to individual heated plates, so there is no fear of the fish breaking again. Garnish attractively to disguise slight tendency of portions to break
After a series of culinary mis-steps (none of which involved sauce), I feel inspired to share some more of the practical wisdom of Marguerite Patten.
Sauce made with a roux (butter and flour) has formed lumps
Whisk the sauce briskly and quite often the lumps will go. If this technique fails then rub the sauce through a sieve or put it into a liquidiser and switch on for a few seconds. This treatment will produce a smooth sauce , but one that becomes thinner in consistency, so allow it to simmer gently for a time so it will become a little thicker.
In which home economics legend Marguerite Patten lists rectifications for the last-minute culinary disasters which can befall a cook who has over-refreshed themselves or spent too long in front of the mirror or with their guests. Or, as she reassures us:
From time to time even the most accomplished and experienced cook has a failure in the kitchen. What appears at first glance to be a spoiled dish amy well be disguised, or the fault remedied, with a little ‘know-how’. I hope the following hints will be helpful.