Court-bouillon is a light stock or broth used for poaching fish, shellfish, poultry, and sweetbreads. Court-bouillon is not the same as a rich, full-bodied stock and is generally not part of the finished dish. Court-bouillon often contains an acid such a wine, vinegar or lemon juice. Court-bouillon can be as simple as salted water flavoured with a few herbs such as a Bay leaf and a sprig of Thyme and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
In Creole and Cajun ‘courtbouillon’ is a thick, rich Catfish stew most often thickened with a roux.
Court bouillon sufficient to poach 1 or 2 1 ½ lb Lobsters or a whole Salmon
4 litres of freshly drawn cold Water
350 ml quality White Wine
3 large Shallots, peeled and chopped
4 sticks of Celery, washed and chopped
2 medium Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 Leek, thoroughly washed and sliced
½ bulb of Fennel, washed and sliced
1 Bay Leaf
1 sprig fresh Thyme
1 sprig Tarragon
8 fresh Parsley stems
½ teaspoon Black Peppercorns, crushed
1 fresh Lemon, halved
Place in a very large pan, cover and bring to the boil. Add the lobsters and bring back to the boil and simmer for eight to ten minutes. Using a spider remove the lobsters and plunge in lots of iced water to arrest any further cooking.
For a medium poached salmon, place the washed salmon in a fish kettle or deep tray on a triple folded piece of foil. This will allow you to lift the cooked salmon out later. Cover with cold court bullion and a tight-fitting lid. Bring to the boil, simmer for four minutes and remove from heat. Leave in cooking liquor until total cold. Lift out and drain.