A solitary cormorant stands on a rock surveying the shimmering depths of Lake Geneva. With a gentle rise it lifts into the wispy whiteness of the sky, dives into the water, emerging moments later, triumphant.
The fish of this Alpine lake are reknown, and not only to long legged predators that stand in anticipation.
Behind the lake countless rows of vines rise into the hills.
Fish and wine.
That’s one over the bird!
Landlocked Switzerland has freshwater fish dishes unrivalled across Europe. Restaurant menus reflect this reality.
A bondelle terrine, baked salmon trout, carp soup, fried perch fillets, mousse made with char, quenelles of pike, smoked fillets of laveret, vendace roe on toast, whole char in a court bouillon and, arguably, the most delicious fish stew ever devised – La Pôchouse, as popular in the Swiss cantons as it is in Burgundy where it originated.
1.5 kg eel, perch, pike and trout fillets 750 g root vegetables (carrot, celeriac, kohlrabi, parsley, parsnip, salsify, turnip) 500 ml dry white wine 500 ml water 300 g tomatoes, pulped 150 g smoked bacon, diced 125 g onions, chopped 65 g butter 50 g flour 50 g shallots, chopped 45 ml olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 15 g tomato pureé 10 g parsley 1 bay leaf 1 tsp chervil 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp saffron 1 tsp thyme Salt, pinch Pepper, pinch Parsley, for garnish
This Burgundian feast is made with a white wine bouillabaisse. In the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and the Valais/Wallis it is made with a vegetable white wine stock.
Sauté onions and shallots in one tablespoon of the butter melted with the oil, stir in tomatoes and instead of fish bones add root vegetables, herbs and water. Simmer for 45 minutes. Strain.
In a large deep pot, make a roux with the butter, flour and two tablespoons of the wine.
Soak the saffron in a tablespoon of the wine.
Sauté the garlic in remaining butter, followed by the bacon. Add the paprika, tomato pureé, and the remaining wine. Stir into the roux. Add the saffron wine, and bring to a gentle simmer.
Poach the eel and trout first, followed by the pike eight minutes later, then perch after another eight minutes, finish in four minutes for a total of 20 minutes cooking time.
Serve in hot bowls, garnish with parsley.
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