A Thousand Layers of Fish

(Mille Feuilles de Poisson or Feuillete de Poisson)

Serves 6

This is our recreation of a dish that we had for lunch at a beach restaurant called "Club 55" in St. Tropez. It's a brightly flavored combination of thin slices of fish, thinly sliced lemons and tomatoes napped with olive oil. The most surprising features of the dish are the leaves of lettuce that separate each layer of ingredients to make the "mille feuilles" and the very slow and long cooking time.

For us, this dish evokes memories of languid lunches sitting at tables covered with blue and white Provençal tablecloths under the filtered shade of the tamarisk trees, sipping the house wine, "Rosé Club".

We recreated the dish with great success using ingredients available to us in San Francisco. But we couldn't recreate the warm embracing air and sun of St.Tropez. Perhaps you'll have better luck!

Preparing the Ingredients:

Have on hand all of the following:

1 ½ lb of firm, flavorful fish
3 whole, organic lemons
4 very ripe, flavorful tomatoes
1-2 head of butter lettuce

Assembly:

Serving:

  • Serve a slice in your hot bouillabaisse bowls and spoon the lemony flavored cooking juices over each feuillete slice. Serve with basmati rice.
  • Notes:

  • Fish: Select a local fish in your area that has a firm white flesh. In San Francisco, I use a large fillet of red snapper or ling cod. Sole would be too fine, halibut to oily and swordfish too dry.
  • Lemons: Since you'll be using the whole lemon, including the outer peel, use lemons that have not been sprayed with pesticides. Select lemons that have a smooth, thin outer peel and very little white pith. The pith is bitter and if there's too much of it, it will impart an unpleasant sharpness. For this dish to succeed, you must slice the lemons as thinly as possible so they can "melt" during cooking. This can only be done with a mandolin.
  • Oblong: An oblong shape is the best so the cooked feuillete can be sliced to show all the layers. You should select the size of the baking pan relative to the amount of ingredients so you can get at least 3 sets of layers. An 8" x 5" paté baker is an ideal size and shape to make a 2-person serving. If you only have a square baking dish, then serve the feuillete cut into 3" squares.
  • Lemony Cream Sauce: If you want to gussy-up this dish (and don't care about the calories), you could serve this sauce with it a Lemony Cream Sauce:Reduce a ½ cup of white wine with 2 TBS lemon juice until it begins to look a little "syrupy". Add 1 pt. of heavy cream and reduce the entire mixture by half. Lightly season with sea salt and pepper. Taste. Add more lemon juice if necessary.
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