September 1, 2015
No, this little fantasy is not dessert. And yes, that fish is real. This improbable confection on the cover of a 1952 issue of Gourmet Magazine is filets de sole Joinville.
I like to imagine America's bravest cooks eagerly devouring this recipe, running out to buy the (extremely long) list of ingredients, and then balancing that final mushroom in the middle. Had their friends arrived yet? What else was for dinner? Did anybody request the recipe? And where did they find the truffles? We’ll get to the recipe, but first, a word from Gourmet’s editors:
“The ancient Romans and before them the Greeks, no mean gormandizes, wisely considered the sole the most dedicated of fish and esteemed it for its nourishing and light flesh. They went so far as to compare it not to the mutton chop in the Englishman’s tribute but to the partridge. And, of course, they recommended sole, along with other fish, as an aphrodisiac, which was always their perfect and ultimate tribute…”
And for the curious, a note on M. de Joinville, after whom this delightful dish was named:
"Filets de Sole Joinville was named after the son of King Louis Philippe of France. “Prince de Joinville” was by training and inclination a sea-faring man and had commanded the ship which brought the remains of Napoleon home from St. Helena. Like Lafayette a war or two earlier, Joinville came to the States, no longer United, to offer his services and those of his son and his two nephews to the government at Washington. After the war was over, Joinville wrote an count of the Campagne du Potomac, La Guerre d’Amerique. For this Joinville, otherwise remembered very little for his services to his country and to ours, a dish of filets of sole was named. It is a most worthy dish, very beautiful, as you can see on GOURMET’S cover this month, most delectable, as you will find for your self when you have ventured it. “
Categorised in: Big Things