Legendary Dishes | La Pôchouse Suisse (freshwater fish stew)

SWITZERLAND

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 re-known, and not only to long legged predators that stand watch. Behind the lake countless rows of vines rise into the hills. Fish and wine.

Voilà!

That’s one over the bird!

Landlocked Switzerland has freshwater fish dishes unrivalled across Europe. Restaurant menus in this area reflect this reality.

  • 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 purée
  • 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

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 purée, 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.