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Author Notes: Even if I had known it was the cap’ns’ nephew I still would have clobbered him. Don’t he know if someone cooks for you it is a gift not a given. If a passionate cook cooks for you, you are taking part in his spirit, his very nature. You are eating more than just some grub slid before ye. The cap’n was nice enough about it though. He could ‘ave thrown me overboard but instead set me ashore at ships next port. He was even kind enough to give me me wages too. I guess that should tell me something about me grub. I smiled and took a big draft of me ale. ‘Nother ship ‘nother day me thought. Just the life of a sea cook I suppose. Nice place this Spouter-Inn. Me likes The Minutemen playing their harps, drums and fife over there in the corner. Makes for a nice atmosphere. I turned and with great surprise there in the corner of me eye came Queequeg through the door. I stood, rubbed me eyes in disbelief and grinned. I walked to him opening my arms to give him a big sailors hug. We took a table at the back and started to catch-up on our long absence with each other and started trading tales. He was sailing on the Pequod and wanted me to sign on as cook. Something about that boat always bothered me and I didn’t really like the capn’ neither. Little did I know this would be the last time I saw my old friend. We ordered dinner, the specialty of the Belgian chef, Waterzooi of Whitefish, a dish I had never made. I am glad we did. It is always nice to share such a great dinner with a dear friend.
—Bob the sea cook
- 2 whitefish filets, cut into 2 inch pieces, a piece of kitchen twine tied snugly around the middle of each piece so it looks like bow tie pasta, skin side out
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 thin carrots, cut on the bias, 3/8 inch wide
- 1 1/2 leeks, whites only rinsed and julienned
- 6 two inch long French fingerling potatoes, cut into quarters
- 3 celery stalks, peeled and cut on the bias
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups fish stock or unsalted clam broth
- 4 white mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 10 garlic cloves, the size of you pinky nail, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 egg yolks, placed into a mixing bowl
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
- Place a 12 inch cooking vessel over a medium flame. Add the butter to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Add the carrots, leeks, celery, potatoes, mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the leeks begin to wilt. Add the white wine, bay leaves and thyme. Let it evaporate by half.
- Add the stock and bring the broth to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Uncover and add the fish raise the heat to medium. Cover and steam the fish until done. About three to four minutes. The idea is to have the fish and vegetables be tender all at the same time, neither should be overcooked and mushy.
- Remove the lid. Add the cream and bring the broth to a boil. Ladle a 1/4 cup of broth over the egg yolks while whisking then add the egg broth back to the pan.
- Stir in the egg broth and be very careful not to bring the broth to a boil or it will curdle. Let the yolks thicken the sauce. Serve in bowls garnished with parsley.