Known for creating fish recipes inspired by the surrounding nature, Chef Régis Marcon makes use of regional ingredients and products from the countryside to make this recipe for squash combined with the local pike-perch. More formally known as sander or zander fish, pike-perch is considered as one of the most valuable food fish in Europe. It is highly demanded for its light, firm and tender meat, which contains only a few bones and its mild and delicate flavor. Contrary to common belief, sander is not a hybrid of pike and perch, but is nicknamed as such because of its resemblance to both species.
In this healthy dinner recipe, the pike-perch cut into fillets are fried in oil and served alongside a pumpkin boulangere and butternut squash chutney. Two sauces are made to accompany the dish: pumpkin puree and red wine butter sauce. This is a dish with intense squash flavors, processed in three ways so that subtleties and nuances of pumpkin are experienced in a single dish.
Ingredients: 4 zander fillets, 1 squash, 1 butternut squash, 3 onions, ¾ of a bottle of Syrah (red wine), fowl bouillon, 1 pepper (diced), 1 cube of sugar, butter, 4 potatoes, 1 tip of garlic (minced), salt, pepper
To make the pumpkin boulangere, sauté the onions in butter for three to four minutes until they soften. Peel and cut pumpkin to thin slices about 3 mm each. Do the same with the potatoes. Add minced garlic to the onions and then place a layer of potatoes. Put a layer of sautéed onions on top of the layer of potatoes. Season with freshly ground pepper. Add a layer of thinly sliced pumpkins. Add some boiling poultry broth on top of the pumpkin. Place inside the oven to cook. To make pumpkin puree, cut pumpkins into quarters and clean out the core. Drizzle with some butter or olive oil and place in a baking sheet. Cook in oven at 375ºF (190ºC) until flesh is tender and easily pierced with a knife, which takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Cool on rack. Scoop flesh into blender or food processor; whirl until you get a smooth puree. Pass through a sieve to purify further. Reduce bottle of Syrah red wine to three quarters. Add sugar and thicken with butter. To make the chutney, cut the butternut squash, onions, and red peppers into small cubes. Sauté onions in olive oil. Add red peppers and squash. Add a bit of sugar. After two or three minutes when the vegetables have cooked, spice it up a bit with a touch of vinegar. Fry the sander fish filets in olive oil browning both sides. On a plate, place a portion of pumpkin boulangere in the middle. Place the fish on top. Spread the pumpkin and pepper chutney on the surface of the fish. Around the plate, squirt a circle of pumpkin puree and drip red wine sauce in the inside of the circle.
Pumpkin boulangere is an offshoot of the traditional French recipe for pomme boulangere, which basically consists of potatoes browned with onions and cooked with a bit of broth in the oven. Chef Marcon does the same method but uses pumpkin together with potatoes. He also makes a chutney made with butternut squash sautéed with onions and sweet red peppers, seasoned with sugar and vinegar, which will add a tangy flavor to the recipe as well a little bit of color on top of the dish. Pike-perch goes very well with red wine and for this recipe red wine made from Syrah grapes is reduced and thickened with butter to make a luxurious sauce. Also known as Shiraz, Syrah wine is either fruity or dry. It is often characterized by its peppery plum and spicy blackberry flavors.