Mastering “Sauce à l’Armoricaine” And The Flavours Of Brittany


Explore the flavours of Bretagne (Brittany), in support of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.

A centre for top-quality seafood, in the form of a regional classic: fish in Sauce à l’Armoricaine, a traditional recipe from coastal Brittany where it is most commonly prepared with shellfish, or used to flavour firm, white-fleshed fish such as monkfish.  Armorique is the ancient name for the northern region of Brittany where the coast is called les Cȏtes d’Armor.

Fish in Sauce Armoricaine

Ingredients:

1¼ kilogram fresh, firm, white-flesh fish such as monkfish or yellowtail, cut into medallions

Plain, white flour

50 grams good quality salted butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

50 ml brandy, warmed

2 cloves of garlic

1 white onion

2 shallots (or use more onion if unavailable)

1 standard tin of tomato purée

1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrate)

250 ml fish stock

Half a bottle of dry white wine

Small pinch of cayenne pepper

Dried, mixed herbs (or use a mix of parsley, thyme and bay leaves), to taste

A handful of fresh coriander

4 threads of saffron

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of half a lemon

Method:

Coat the fish medallions lightly in flour.  In a heavy-based or cast-iron saucepan, melt the butter and add the olive oil so that the butter does not burn.  Place the fish medallions in the pan, add the warmed brandy, and ignite to flambé. Take the pan off the heat, place the fish in a separate dish, and put it aside to rest.

Finely dice the garlic, onion and shallots and cook gently in the flambéed saucepan until golden brown.  Add the tomato purée and tomato paste, the fish stock, white wine, cayenne, and the dried herbs. Simmer gently until the sauce has reduced, thickened and concentrated in flavour, for at least 20 minutes.

Finally, add the pieces of fish to the sauce in the pan and cook for only a further 5 to 7 minutes.  Just before serving, add the fresh coriander, saffron, salt and pepper. Serve with rice and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Now, close your eyes and pour yourself a glass of Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Anchorman Chenin Blanc, and imagine yourself in the town of Brest on the coast of Brittany!