Monday, 23 August 2010
Fillet of Baked Pike with Meuniere Sauce, Salad and New Potatoes
There are a great many people here in the UK who believe either that pike should not be eaten or that it does not afford an enjoyable eating experience. Although I had eaten pike before, in both Austria and the Czech Republic, I had never until very recently had the opportunity to actually cook pike.
That all changed one night last week when I got a phone call to enquire whether I could use a pike which had just been caught. I established that the pike was about two and a half pounds in weight and in good condition. I delightedly therefore accepted the offer and headed off to collect the fish that would form my dinner the following evening.
I gave considerable thought as to how I would cook my pike. On the two previous occasions I remember eating pike, it was on one occasion barbecued and on the other, poached in a fish kettle. In the name of variety and experimentation, I therefore decided to cook it a different way altogether and bake it in the oven.
What I did was gut the pike but otherwise left it whole. I then sat it on a bed of sliced lemon and white onion and made four large scores in the uppermost side of its flesh. I then prepared a very basic meuniere sauce by melting and browning some butter in a saucepan and adding lemon juice and freshly chopped parsley, which I poured over the pike before covering the baking tray with aluminium foil and baking it an oven pre-heated to 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5, for twenty-five minutes.
For more detailed instruction in this process and accompanying photographs, click on the link below:
How to Cook Pike
The cooking of the pike was carried out very late on one evening, so this was the principal reason why I decided to eat it cold the next day. I simply allowed it to cool when it came out of the oven, before refrigerating it whole in a large dish covered with clingfilm until the following evening.
The skin of even a small pike like this is very thick compared to most other edible fish. This actually in a sense makes it easier to remove, however, and by making an incision behind the gill, I was able to strip the skin completely off the uppermost side of the fish. The fillet could then simply be slid from the bones with the aid of a blunt knife and a fish slice. By lifting the head and again using a blunt knife if required, the entire skeleton of the fish should then be lifted away from the second fillet. I then shredded some lettuce and white onion and used it to form a bed for the pike fillet.
I have served the pike fillet here simply with some new potatoes in butter and parsley, some blanched baby corn, cherry tomatoes and a fresh batch of meuniere sauce, made up at the very last minute.