Whenever you want to receive guests and amaze their taste buds, go for this elegant fish duo crumble on a bed of shallots. Among my favorite recipes of all times!
I have tried this recipe many times and I never get tired of it, this dish is just fantastic, yet still quite easy to prepare. It’s a total win-win! Actually, if you have been following my blog since my beginnings, you might have seen a slightly different version before (with salmon only). I removed it afterwards, as my poor picture didn’t give credit to the recipe. While I keep several of my first recipe pictures to remember of when I started blogging, I simply couldn’t keep this one that deserves the best only.
So I finally re-created it for you today, so that it arrives just on time for the holidays, as I know you are already busy planning your menu. Whether you make it for Christmas, New Year’s Ever, or even later for Valentine’s Day, this fish duo will always have this little festive look. So what makes it so special and why is this recipe a keeper according to me?
To begin with, I paired two different fishes, salmon fillets and cod to be exact, which gives a nice contrast in texture, flavors and colors. Then, and this is for sure my favorite part, I made a lovely and delicate sauce made of shallots, butter and white wine. Shallots are often used in French cuisine, and so far I can remember, I have always loved cooking them. Their gentle flavor is milder than red onions, but more assertive than yellow, with a hint of garlic flavor. My favorite way to cook shallots consists of melting them in butter. Add then some dry white wine and reduce the heat. Please taste the sauce while you are cooking it, it is just divine (I love dipping some bread in this shallot sauce, but it’s our little secret, right?). Here we also added some crème fraîche to give a creamier texture to the sauce.
Once you have made the sauce, just add the spinach a few seconds until they are cooked. Instead of spinach, you can also use sorrel if your prefer, it will do the job too. Both versions are equally good, and I personally prefer even more with sorrel, but it is not always easy to find sorrel at your local market whereas the spinach is. In the end I repeat, it is just a matter of personal taste.
Now let’s talk about the crispy part on top. This crispy topping is actually very simple, made of oats, flour, and butter. Nothing more. You first crumble it in your ends, then bake it in the oven until slightly golden-brown, stirring a few times meanwhile.
The last part is about assembling the dish. There are three ways to do it. The first one is the one presented on the pictures, served on plates directly. It makes the dish very fancy and elegant – no need to say here that is by far my favorite way to serve this dish to my guest. You consider here that each element of the dish is prepared separately, and then assembled on the plate, ending with the crispy topping sprinkled on top.
The second way to prepare the dish is to pour the sauce in an oven-proof shallow dish, display the fish fillets on top (raw, not cooked), cover with the crumbly topping (not baked yet), and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the top is slightly golden-brown. The presentation won’t be as fancy as it is in the first version, but it is easier when you have a crowd to feed. The third version then is a mix between the two first ones: make it in individual portions, using small or medium-sized ramekins, depending on if you want to serve the dish as a starter or as a main course.
- 5 oz (150g) skinned salmon fillets
- 5 oz (150g) cod fillets
- 1 - 1 ½ cup fresh spinach
- ¼ cup heavy crème fraîche
- 3 medium shallots
- 1 ½ tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- Salt and pepper
- ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ - 1 cup oat flakes
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven at 350°F (180°C).
- Rinse the salmon and cod fillets, and carefully wipe with absorbent paper. Season with salt and pepper, then place the fillets into an oven-proof shallow dish and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut the fillets into medium-sized pieces.
- Peel and finely chop the shallots. Gently melt in a saucepan with butter until they become transparent. Pour the wine and reduce by half. Whisk in the cream, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
- Sort, wash and dry spinach. Add it to the creamy mixture, stir for a few seconds until they become tender, and remove from heat.
- For the crumbly topping: rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips until crumbly. Stir in the oat flakes and add a pinch of salt. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake for about 10 minutes until slightly golden brown, stirring from time to time to prevent from burning.
- Serve on the plates directly, starting with the sauce in the middle of the plate, topping with the fish fillet pieces and the crumbly mixture on top.*