Merlan Magali

Whiting and Mussels in White Wine Sauce

This lovely dish shows a curious combination of influences—the egg sauce obviously comes from the North, and the oregano adds an interesting Southern touch to the delicate flavor of the whiting.

Serve with boiled new potatoes or Riz aux Herbes and an endive salad or Salade Mesclun).

The recipe calls for a large whiting, which may seem a bit excessive, but you can make Salade de Riz Variée with the leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1 4- to 5-pound whiting
  • 4 pounds mussels
  • ½ cup dry white wine (California Chablis is acceptable)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • bouquet garni
  • salt
  • freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 egg yolks
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley, plus 2 sprigs

Method

Scrub the mussels with a metal or strong nylon brush and remove the beards. Set them in cold water for 10 minutes. Discard any opened mussels.

Heat the wine in an earthenware dish or a Doufeu. Add the mussels, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, tossing gently with a spoon. Cool. Take out the mussels and discard the shells. Strain the broth through a piece of cheesecloth spread over a sieve and reserve.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Spread the onion and carrot in a deep baking dish and add the oil and bouquet garni. Lay the fish on top, season with salt and pepper, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Peel off the fish skin with a knife and discard it.

Blend the egg yolks and lemon juice in a small bowl. In a heavy-bottomed pan, blend the flour and butter over low heat. Add the mussel broth while stirring gently with a wooden spoon over a low flame. Remove from heat and add the oregano and egg-lemon mixture. Heat the sauce for 1 minute, adding the mussels. Cover and remove from heat.

Place the whiting on a warm serving platter and pour the mussels and sauce over it. Before serving, sprinkle with chopped parsley and put a sprig of parsley at each end of the dish.