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My grandmother's handwritten recipe.

Poisson au Mais

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Tonight’s recipe is Poisson au Mais, or fish with corn. Here is the very basic recipe as my grandmother wrote it:

  • 1 couche de poisson bien epicee
  • 1 couche de bechamelle
  • 1 couche de mais en boite
  • Recommencer l’operation jusqu’a epuissement
  • En dernier lieu, 1 couche de mayonnaise
  • Passer au four

That means:
  • 1 layer fish, very well spiced
  • 1 layer bechamel sauce
  • 1 layer corn in a box
  • Restart until the baking dish is full
  • And finally, one layer of mayonnaise
  • Put the baking dish in the oven
I wasn’t quite sure what my grandmother meant by a few things, so I asked my mother to clarify. She said that, being on an impoverished island, home cooks often had to improvise with ingredients, and also:
  • The corn in a box mostly likely means a can of corn
  • Use shallots, parsley, scallions and garlic to season the dish
  • To replace the mayonnaise with parmesan
List of ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. tilapia filets, or 6 pieces
  • 1 can of corn kernels, drained
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 large scallions, white part minced
  • Dried parsley
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • butter
  • milk
  • flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lemon
This recipe was very easy and took about 20-25 minutes to make. Here’s how I did it:
  1. First, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Then I used this bechamel recipe¬†from Mario Batali minus the nutmeg since that isn’t an ingredient used in Haitian cooking and I didn’t think it would work with this meal.
  3. In part while I was making the sauce and afterward, I chopped/minced the scallions, shallot and garlic and set them aside.
  4. I placed 3 filets in a baking pan, covered them with fresh-squeezed lemon, salt and pepper, and some of the shallot/garlic/scallion mix, and then with some dried parsley.
  5. I spooned the bechamel sauce over the filets, completely covering them.
  6. I shook out about half of the can of corn over the filets.
  7. Then I started that process over with a second layer of 3 filets.
  8. I powdered the finished top layer with grated parmesan and placed the baking dish in the oven for 25 minutes.
The finished meal included white rice and avocado and was delicious.

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