Trout Quenelles with Watercress Sauce

Although as my friend Angus quite rightly, if somewhat acerbically pointed out, the French only make quenelles with pike, trout is an excellent substitute. It is also one which I served at a ten-course dinner party I once cooked in an alcoholic blackout so you can see that it is not difficult.


  • 275g/10oz fresh trout
  • 275g/10oz smoked trout
  • 3 egg whites
  • a pinch of mace
  • salt and pepper
  • 300ml/½ pint double cream

For The Sauce

  • 5 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 150ml/¼ pint dry white wine
  • 150ml/¼ pint strong chicken stock
  • 300ml/½ pint whipping cream
  • 4 bunches watercress
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 55g/2oz butter


Put into a food processor all the fish and blend until smooth, add the egg whites and blend until completely smooth. Add salt and pepper and mace, pour in the cream with the machine running, do not run the machine for more than 20 seconds. Don’t let the mixture get too thin, it must sit up on a spoon. Chill for 30 minutes.

Bring a wide pan of salted water to a simmer. Dip a dessertspoon in warm water and take a good rounded spoonful of the mixture. Use another spoon to form the quenelle. Poach each quenelle in the water for 8-10 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Put in a warm dish and when all are made pour over sauce and serve at once.

To make the sauce, simmer the shallot and the wine together for 15 minutes or more until it forms a soft purée and the wine is almost evaporated. Add stock and cream, season and boil until reduced by one third and coating a spoon. Pick over the watercress discarding tough stalks and discoloured leaves and toss into a pan of boiling salted water. Blanch for 2–3 minutes, drain and refresh under a cold tap. Squeeze out excess water. In the food processor purée the watercress for 1–2 minutes until a smooth purée is formed, pour the hot cream over the purée and process adding the lemon juice and the butter in small pieces. Strain and reheat without boiling, pour over quenelles and serve at once.