Cheese Sauce Recipe for Fish Dishes

Makes: 10 portions. Cooking time: 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

— 75 grams grated cheese [(a) cheddar, or (b) cheddar and gruyère; or (c) cheddar and
Parmesan.]
— 6 dl Béchamel
— 2 dl strained fish stock or the cooking liquid in which the fish has previously been poached reduced by half
— 75 grams butter
— 1 dl lightly beaten cream
— 2 egg yolks (preferably cooked as sabayon) seasoning

Method:

(1) Add the grated cheese to the béchamel and allow the cheese to melt by heating the receptacle in a bain-marie of hot water or on top of the cooker.
(2) Add the reduced strained cooking liquid or stock, bringing the sauce to a coating consistency.
(3) Add the egg yolks or sabayon.
(4) Add the butter and cream.
(5) Test the seasoning and consistency of the sauce.

Note:
Once the sauce is completed, it may stand in a bain-marie of hot water for a reasonable length of time before it starts to deteriorate.

It is important that the water in the bain-marie is not allowed to boil. To prevent a skin from forming on the surface area of the sauce it should be spread with knobs of butter and/or a covering of greaseproof paper.

Assessment of completed dish & possible problem, cause and solution:

(1) Glaze is uneven on the surface of the fish:
— béchamel was undercooked; care must be taken when preparing the basic sauce to avoid this problem as it cannot be rectified.
— too much fat used in the roux as the basis of the béchamel; care must be taken when preparing the basic sauce to avoid this problem as it cannot later be rectified.
— completed sauce was too thick; care must be taken to avoid this problem as it cannot be
rectified once the sauce is glazed.
— completed sauce too thin; care must be taken to avoid this problem as it cannot be rectified once the sauce is glazed.
— cooked egg yolks not added; care must be taken at this stage to thicken the sauce with the egg yolks as the problem cannot be rectified once the sauce is glazed.
— completed sauce held at too high a temperature or for too long; prolonged retention must be avoided as problems on this account cannot be rectified once the sauce is glazed.
— temperature of the salamander grill was too low; the grill must be hot enough to glaze the sauce quickly to avoid this problem as it cannot be rectified later.
— stale cheese used which was difficult to melt; ensure that the ingredients are fresh to avoid this type of problem at a later stage as it cannot be rectified.
— completed dish was not sprinkled with cheese and melted butter before glazing; care must be taken to follow the correct method for glazing to avoid this problem which cannot be rectified.
*The sauce should be tested on the back of a flat dish and glazed to see if there are any problems that can be rectified before the fish is finished with the sauce and glazed.

(2) Sauce runs off the fish when under the salamander grill
— sauce was too thin; care must be taken to achieve the correct consistency as this problem cannot be rectified once the sauce is glazed.
— temperature of the salamander grill was too low; the temperature of the grill must be hot enough to glaze the sauce quickly as this problem cannot be rectified later.
— surface of the fish not dried before coating with the sauce; care must be taken to follow this procedure to avoid this problem as it cannot be rectified once the sauce is glazed.

(3) Cooking liquid seeps around the edges of the completed dish:
– fish not drained sufficiently on a cloth before arrangement on the service dish; care must be taken to drain the fish adequately before coating with the sauce and glazing as this problem cannot later be
rectified.
— surplus moisture not dried off under a salamander grill before coating with the sauce and glazing; care must be taken to dry the fish adequately before coating with the sauce and glazing as this problem cannot later be rectified.

(4) Sauce is too dark
— poor quality béchamel used; care must be taken when preparing the basic sauce as this problem cannot later be rectified.
— fish stock used to poach the fish and the subsequent reduction was poor in quality; care must be taken in preparing the stock as problems due to poor quality cannot be rectified later.
— completed sauce held for too long in warm or hot conditions; the sauce should be prepared closer to the time it is required to avoid prolonged retention as this problem cannot be rectified later.
— aluminium pans used to prepare either the béchamel or the cheese sauce; aluminium should not be used on any account as this problem cannot be rectified later.

(5) Sauce is floury in flavor and gluey in texture
— béchamel was under-cooked; care must be and taken when preparing the basic sauce to avoid this problem as it cannot be rectified later.

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