My friend and former student Gary Danko, who is the dining room chef at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco, mentioned to me transferring the technique of pan-steaming to the oven by using two baking pans which can contain a larger quantity of servings.
Unfortunately I never saw Gary do this, so I applied the same technique used in classic French cuisine for the poaching of chicken breast cutlets at high heat and it worked perfectly. The fish steaks must be 3/4 inch thick and the technique works best with medallions, as the oily taste of the skin transfers rapidly to the flesh during the cooking. The fish must be at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking it and the procedure is as follows:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Salt and pepper the fish medallions or steaks lightly on both sides, then set them on a piece of lightly oiled parchment paper. Prepare a second sheet of lightly oiled parchment paper for later use.
3. As soon as the oven temperature has reached 450 degrees F, put two baking pans to heat in the oven for 4 minutes on the top and middle racks of the oven. 4. Using oven mittens, transfer the sheet of parchment on which the fish is resting to the upper rack pan. Top the fish with the second sheet of parchment, then place the second pan upside down over the first to form a lid. Bake 4 minutes at 450 degrees F, then turn the heat off and let stand in the turned off oven another 3 minutes.
5. Remove to warm plates, garnish, and serve immediately.
The New Making of a Cook
The Art, Techniques, and Science of Good Cooking
by Madeleine Kamman
Oct. 1997, $40 hardcover
Recipe reprinted by permission.
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