Marcus Wareing's steamed fish and creamy mushroom and white wine sauce


MasterChef steamed bream, cream, mushroom and white wine sauce

I've been catching up on MasterChef: The Professionals on BBC iPlayer. I'm loving it as always. I'm not sure why there are so few women though. Is it all a huge misogynistic conspiracy or are women just not entering or crap cooks or what! I was routing for the only remaining woman, the pretty lady chef Joey, whose food is always so beautiful and colourful and makes you happy just looking at the plate. Which is all we can do anyway, but by the sounds of it it also tasted great. But not great enough apparently as she was booted out tonight.

I like some of the younger guys with facial hair, there's like at least three identical ones there. They clearly seem to have some talent. There were also a couple of guys with holes in their ears big enough to stick cucumbers through, but they're gone now.

I think the skills tests have been a great way to learn to do some every day basics. Like butchering a rabbit or stuffing a pig's trotter. WHO EATS PIG'S TROTTERS? No but seriously, great tips for filleting fish (from the head not tail!), making sauces, classic desserts etc. It's also always funny when the three judges make faces at the poor contestants when they do things that clearly are unthinkable on planet Chef like try to glue their ravioli with water instead of egg, poach meringue quenelles in custard instead of milk or turn their back on the salamander. Never turn your back on a salamander. I never even knew what a salamander was until this series (apart from the kind that burnt holes in Ron Weasley's trousers). I'm just the kind of cook to definitely turn my back on a salamander and burn me toast. So many important things I'm learning, And you don't make a sabayon for ice-cream.

Also great tip: next time you cook for Britain's top chefs, don't make them eat lobster intestines.

In one of the episodes Marcus Wareing's skills test was filleting a plaice, steaming it and making a creamy mushroom and white wine sauce for it. I thought it looked like it would taste fantastic and might be an elegant meal to serve some elegant guests. I'm not great with sauces, so thought would be good to add a simple but delicious sauce to my repertoire.

So I decided to try this with the guidance of lovely Marcus. I didn't happen to have a whole plaice in my fridge but I had some ready filleted bream (although I can fillet a bream, starting from head not tail obviously) which I thought would do just as well.

So into a pan I threw some fish stock and aromatics. I used this broth both for steaming the fish and for the sauce.

For the sauce I chopped a couple of shallots and some button mushrooms, then added a good splash of white wine, stock and cream. I checked the seasoning and it didn't need any extra salt.

For the bream, I seasoned the fillets lightly with salt and pepper (although Marcus didn't seem to season his, but sometimes maybe I just know things) and just grated a tiny bit of lime zest on the them. Then I folded them into nice parcels and placed in the steamer (in my case not a pretty bamboo steamer but a sieve over a pan with the boiling stock covered with a lid).

The fish took probably about 5 minutes to cook. It's easy to see, just take it off the heat as soon as it has just turned from translucent to white and flakes easily. Or if you have Marcus's magic fingers you just touch the fish and you'll know).

The sauce was gorgeous with great mushroom taste and the fish was cooked just right. Husband was a bit suspicious as I gave him his white fish pieces from the sieve. They look a bit bland but once covered in the creamy sauce he got the point and loved the dish.

I served it with a fresh salad and some completely tasteless gnocchi - my first attempt at made from scratch gnocchi which were also unbelievably ugly.

Marcus Wareing's steamed fish with mushroom, cream and white wine sauce (serves 4)

8 fish fillets (plaice, bream or bass)

2 cups fish stock
Fresh herbs and other aromatics
(Marcus used half a lemon, 2 bay leaves, sprig of thyme, shallot, lemongrass and fennel - I only had lemon, bay leaves, thyme and shallot, but threw in some fresh parsley and dill for good measure)

Butter or oil
2 Shallots
Large handful (about 2/3 - 1 cup) chopped mushrooms
1/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup fish stock
1/3 cup cream
Handful of thinly sliced mushrooms
Fresh thyme

Fillet and season your fish and fold ready to steam. Bring the fish stock with the aromatics to boil. Place your fish in the steamer.

Chop the shallots and mushroom. Heat a knob of butter or tbsp of oil in a pan and add shallots and mushroom. Fry for a minute of two. Add the white wine, cook down a bit, add the fish stock from under the steamer, add the cream. Cook down a little. Sieve and discard the mushroom and onion. Return the sauce to pan and add thinly sliced mushroom and fresh thyme. Cook for a little while until mushrooms are done (add a splash of water if it's getting too thick). Check seasoning.

Once fish is cooked remove from steamer and plate. Spoon the sauce over the fish.

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