Dorades en portefeuille farci aux goûts d’
Porgies, purse style, stuffed with summer flavors.


Whole ungutted porgies (bream, if you will) purchased for a pittance at the Spanish store up the street. The fish were scaled with a spoon, the fins cut, gills removed, then washed. Purse style butchery consists in skillfully opening the fish though the back and removing the spine. Cuts are made along the length of the back from the head to the tail, and along the ribs being careful not to puncture the belly or skin. Using scissors, the spine is cut behind the head, before the tail, and then carefully pulled out with the guts and whatnot. The pin bones are removed with pliers. Its pretty bad-ass when done properly.

The stuffing: Essentially a bread salad with summer vegetables. The stuffing needed to be light and cooked so that it would suffice to be warmed through slowly without having to hammer the fish, giving you just enough time to flirt with and ultimately offend the lassies at the grill. The bread also helps to absorb any juices which would otherwise be lost. Stale sourdough was diced and toasted. Zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant diced as well, all sautéed in olive oil not before letting the eggplant degorge some water after lightly salting. A red pepper was roasted over a flame, diced and added to the other vegetables. The entire mixture was bound with a soffrito of toasted garlic, dried chili, anchovies, diced red onion, tomato paste, lemon zest and segments. The stuffing was finished with chopped parsley, olive oil and a splash of sherry vinegar. The cavity of the fish was filled with the stuffing and tied shut with butcher’s string. A hot grill stood the chance of burning the string as well as cooking the meat before the stuffing had a chance to warm through so it was slowly cooked on a perforated metal sheet tray over a low grill.

Gustatory Conclusions: The fish was properly butchered and cooked. The stuffing however could have benefited from diced raw tomato for a higher water content. Some lemon slices under the string would have been a good source of acidity and a foil for the sticking skin.