Quenelles (ka nell) are small, usually oval dumplings made of minced seafood, although meat or poultry are also used. They are poached in stock and served with a sauce or used in soups. Quenelles are a classic food technique that goes way back.
Quenelles are made with egg and cream, which gives this specialty its velvety texture.
The mild flavour of Quenelles agrees with a creamy white sauce such as Mornay, but you can experiment with different sauces if you like.
I’ve adapted this recipe from a 1980 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook: “Gourmet Recipes”. I remember first making it back then and it has been popular ever since.
Let’s make some Codfish Quenelles serves 4
1-pound (500g) boneless skinless cod fillets
½ cup water
¼ cup butter
½ cup plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/8-teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of white pepper
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons light cream
3 cups of hot water
¾ teaspoon salt
Parsley for garnish
Put the water and butter in a saucepan and bring to boiling. Add the next four ingredients all together at once and stir vigorously until well blended.
Cook and stir over low flame until the mixture forms a ball that does not separate.
Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
Beat in the eggs and then the egg whites. Set the mixture aside.
Make sure the fish is dry. Chop the fish in a food processor, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides. You could do this in an electric blender; add some cream to keep it from sticking. Beat fish and cream into flour mixture, cover and chill well.
Grease a 12-inch skillet. Using 2 soupspoons for medium quenelles or teaspoons for smaller, take two spoons worth and mold into oval shape with the spoons. As each quenelle is molded place in the skillet. Combine the hot water with salt and carefully pour down the side of the skillet. Bring to simmering, cover and simmer gently about 10 minutes for small and 15 minutes for the medium quenelles.
Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper toweling.
Quenelles goes good with SAUCE MORNAY:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 cup boiling hot milk
Small pinch of nutmeg
½ cup grated Swiss cheese or any cheese you might prefer.
Heat the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour; keep whisking over low heat until the butter and flour are combined. Whisk a few moments to cook out the floury taste. Now add the very hot milk all at once and keep whisking until the sauce is thickened.
This is a white or simple béchamel sauce. Now gradually add the cheese to it and blend in. That’s a Mornay and it’s quite okay.