If you like creamy sauces as much as I do, you'll need to plan to make this dish as soon as humanly possible. Heck, even if you only are ambivalent about creamy sauces, you'll want to make this... it's just that darn good.
The first time I can recall smelling shallots sauteing in butter was when I was maybe eight and we were visiting friends in Paris. It was like I'd never smelled heaven until that moment. This dish takes it even farther by adding cream sherry and Gruyere cheese to make the tastiest sauce around. I made it with white fish. Pollock, I think. You can make it with any mild fleshed white fish or chicken breasts, if you're not a fan on seafood. If you choose to go the chicken route, just remember it will take longer to cook through than the fish will.
The first step is to saute the shallots and garlic in butter. You don't want the heat so high that they brown; cook them until they are softened. Then, add the flour, stir it into the butter, and then add the milk slowly, whisking continually so that you don't end up with a lumpy sauce.
When the milk is incorporated, add the cream sherry and stir until it just comes to a simmer and is nice and thickened. Remove from the heat and add the Gruyere cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a small baking dish (9x9 or similar), spoon a bit of the sauce and spread across the bottom. Place the fish in a single layer on top of the sauce and then pour the remainder of the sauce over the top. Sprinkle the top with a little paprika for color. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly and the fish is cooked through.
White Fish in Sherry Cream Sauce
Yield: 3-4 servings
1 lb mild flavored white fish
2 TBS butter
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 TBS minced shallot
3 TBS + 1 tsp flour
2 TBS cream sherry
1 1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a sauce pan, saute the shallot and garlic in the butter until softened but not browned. Add the flour and stir into the butter until a paste forms. Add the milk slowly, whisking constantly to reduce lump formation. Add the cream sherry. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to simmer and becomes nicely thickened.
Remove from the heat and add the cheese, stirring to incorporate. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon some of the sauce into the bottom of a small baking dish (9x9 or similar). Spread the sauce to cover the bottom. Place the fish in a single layer on the sauce. Pour the remainder of the sauce over the fish and sprinkle with paprika for color. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until fish is cooked through.