Pan-Fried Pike Perch “Sandre” in Foamy Whey and Water Bindweed
Chef Michel Bras of Bras – Laguiole, France
Adapted by from Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras (Ici La Pr, 2002)
May 2010
Yield: 4 Servings


1 3½-pound pike perch

Hazelnut Whey:
2 cups whey
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
1 piece (5 grams) country bread, slightly stale
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Hazelnut Crisps:
2½ ounces bread, slightly stale
2½ ounces hazelnut nougatine
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 thin hazelnut branches, trimmed

Mushrooms and Herbs:
12 ounces small chanterelle mushrooms
1¼ pounds water bindweed or spinach

To Assemble and Serve:

For the Sandre:
Scale, gut, and fillet the fish. Cut it into four pieces and set aside in the refrigerator.

For the Hazelnut Whey:
Pour the whey in a saucepan and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Stir in the oil, bread, and cream. Season with salt and set aside.

For the Hazelnut Crisps:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Chop the bread into bits the size of corn kernels; remove the crust if you like. Chop the nougatine into the size of corn kernels. Mix the bread, nougatine, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the egg and melted butter. Blend vigorously until smooth. Butter 4 cone-shaped molds and fill each with the mixture, with a hazelnut branch sticking out of each. Do not pack the mixture. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crisps turn a nice, light brown. Cool and set aside.  

For the Mushrooms and Herbs:
Clean each mushroom individually by immersing very briefly in a large bowl of water. Do not let the mushrooms soak too long, otherwise they will become waterlogged and lose their flavor. Drain and set aside.

Sort, wash, and dry the bindweed. Set aside.

To Assemble and Serve:
Melt butter in a frying pan. When it starts to foam, begin frying the fish. Baste frequently, taking care not to burn the butter. Test for doneness with a thin metal skewer. Saute the chanterelles over high heat. Briefly heat the bindweed in butter, being careful not to wilt the leaves. Foam the hazelnut whey with an immersion blender and pour an equal amount on the bottom of each plate. Arrange the pike perch, bindweed, and chanterelles on the plates. Garnish with the hazelnut crisp and a little of the cooking butter.