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Neptune Bouchées October 10, 2010

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Fish, Seafood, Wolfe recipe.

When I first created my shrimp profiteroles, I had never read a similar recipe anywhere else. However, as I noted in that post, I would not have been surprised if a similar recipe was found elsewhere. And indeed, I have now found a similar recipe, in The Nero Wolfe Cookbook, no less. I’d like to think this means I’m starting to think like Nero Wolfe – or at least like Fritz – in my recipe preparations!

This recipe involved making what are essentially profiteroles and then stuffing them with fish and seafood combinations. I started by making the puffs (as the recipe calls them). I melted butter in some fish stock, and added salt, pepper and nutmeg. When the butter was melted, I added flour and stirred it until the mixture left the side of the pan. I took the mixture off the heat and let it cool a little bit, before adding the eggs.

I should note at this stage that I followed the quantities specified in the recipe as the end result was meant to be 18-24 bouchées. I continued to follow the instructions and, after adding all the eggs, began to pipe 1-inch balls of the mixture onto a baking tray. As you can see I ended up with far more than 24…

I do concede that maybe they were a bit on the small side; however, even if I’d made them a bit bigger I still would have ended up with more than 24! I baked the puffs in the oven, for about 15 minutes, until they were brown on top and rolled easily around the baking tray. They did indeed puff up nicely!

As they cooled, I prepared the fillings. The recipe called for two different fillings – a shrimp-based one, and another made from smoked salmon. To make the shrimp filling, I boiled some shrimp and then minced them in the food blender when they were cooked. I added parsley and also minced that in the blender, and then mixed mayonnaise in to the shrimp/parsley mix until it had formed a smooth-ish paste.

For the smoked salmon, I also minced it in the food processor (this seemed easier than the instructions to mash it with a fork), then added capers and again a bit of mayonnaise. Here’s the two bowls of mixtures waiting to be stuffed into the puffs.

I then began the rather tedious process of cutting open each puff, stuffing some mixture into it, and replacing the pastry ‘lid’. Once I had a large plate of them, I dutifully served them with parsley and slices of lemon as directed by the recipe.

These were definitely more of a snack than a main meal but I must say that after eating so many of them, the puffs acted as dinner for us! One disappointment I had was that the puffs got a bit soggy as they were cooling – I would have preferred them to have retained a little bit of crunch. But overall, the contrast between the two fillings was very nice and it was certainly easy to eat lots of them!

The shrimp filling was very light and almost sweet, with the parsley coming through strongly. In contrast, the smoked salmon was salty and heavier, providing intense bites of flavour. The capers in the smoked salmon filling got a bit lost and if I was making this again, I would add more capers.

I am telling myself that it can only be a good thing if I am starting to think like Nero Wolfe or Fritz – at least in relation to food! Even if I’m not, it is a good excuse to compare recipes and results.


1. Virginia Lee - October 10, 2010

They’re gorgeous! And really, now I feel like I can make the pâte à choux which I’ve always been intimidated by in the past. Knowing someone in a ‘real’ kitchen who did it, however, encourages me to try.

Do you make your own fish stock? Or did you buy it pre-made?

inspiredbywolfe - October 11, 2010

Thanks Virginia! Pate a choux are not as scary as they first seem. One thing I would suggest is when they’re done, prick them with a toothpick or skewer, then leave them in the oven (turned off) for 10 minutes or so. This helps the air inside them escape, and they stay crispy in the warm oven. I have done this before, but this wasn’t mentioned in the Nero Wolfe recipe, and they did go a bit soggy by the time I served them.

I have made fish stock in the past, but this time I must admit I cheated and used store-bought – because I had none on hand.

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