This tarragon cream sauce is so good that it literally steals the show. I hadn’t made this dish in years and simply recalled the night I had it last and how all of us at the table could not stop asking for more sauce and bread. The bread was to soak up the delicious sauce. With this said, you might want to consider making extra sauce. This recipe comes from an old cookbook I received as a gift over 10 years ago, The Practically Vegetarian Cookbook, Josceline Dimbleby. An excellent cookbook! The recipe is slightly adapted from the original.
Monkfish and Cod can be used. A tougher white fish is best, however, a softer fish like sea bass could be used. Cut them into larger pieces and keep the skin on. The sauce is light and creamy and is made by reducing the poaching liquid. Lemon juice and tarragon give the sauce a tangy and fresh depth that is perfect. Perfect!
2 lbs cod or monkfish
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 c fish or chicken stock
3/4 c white wine
1/2 c heavy cream
2 tbs fresh tarragon, freshly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of red chili flakes
generous handful fresh tarragon leave, garnish
Cut the fish into 3/4 inch pieces. Place the fish in a large sauce pan. Add the lemon juice and sprinkle the fish with a little sea salt and ground pepper. Let the fish sit for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, in another sauce pan, pour in both the fish or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Then pour it over the fish and bring the stock back to a boil in this sauce pan. As soon as the boiling point is reached, cover the pan and remove it from the heat. The residual heat will continue to cook the fish. Let it sit for about 8 minutes or until the flesh of the fish has turned opaque. Gently transfer the fish, using a slotted spatula, to a serving dish. Cover the fish with foil and keep warm on top of the stove. Reserve the remaining poaching liquid in the saucepan.
Bring the reserved poaching liquid boil and let it boil uncovered, without stirring, for 10 minutes or until it has reduced to less than a quarter of its original volume and has thickened. Stir in the cream and the two tablespoons of tarragon leaves. Reduce the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid back up to a boil, and let it gently boil for about 3 minutes or until it has thickened slightly. Pour the sauce over the poached fish in the serving dish, garnish with whole fresh tarragon leaves and serve immediately. The best accompaniment for this dish is a fresh baguette.