I have been looking forward to trying this dish almost from the moment I first opened this book. “Sauce Diable,” or Devil’s Sauce, combining Red Wine, White Wine, and Cognac. This sounded like my type of fare. It all came out tasting a little muddy however. And considering the effort it took to bone the Cornish Hens and then stuff them, let alone all the other preparations for the dinner, it just wasn’t a very big payoff.
Everything was going to according to plan as I began this capricious french dessert. However, the recipe instructions for 40 minutes in the oven is in fact way off for a modern oven and my souffles both burned and broke. The flavour was still delicious from what I could taste but 20 minutes at 400 degrees is what this dish should be cooked at.
In substitute for the native ‘loup’ fish of Beaulieu, I used a striped bass as my salt water fish. This was my first time ever buying a whole fish and I made a critical mistake when I acquiesced to the fish mongers offer of gutting and scaling the fish. He did so from the bottom of the fish when, in fact, I needed to remove the backbone from the top. The result was that when I got home and attempted to de-bone the fish I ended up with two fillets as opposed two a whole fish I could stuff. To add insult to injury I completely forgot about the cooking thread I needed and so wouldn’t have been able sew the fish up regardless. I tried to wrap the fish with aluminum–which my mother informed me after the fact that wine and aluminum don’t mix–to hold the stuffing between the two fillets and hoped for the best. The recipe in itself is quite simple: white wine, chives, bread, and butter. The wine I used was a Willm Alsace Riesling 2012 from France which promised to be quite dry but in the end was rather sweet. All in all the result was a rather tangy fillet of fish. I’m not racing to make this dish again but I feel as though I should do it properly one day to get a better idea of what it’s supposed to taste like.