Blanquette de Poisson (Fish in Cream Sauce)

Poached fish, steamed rice, and sautéed mushrooms are cloaked in a nutmeg-scented white ragoût in this French comfort dish.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    1 hour


By Simone Bouhours

Published on March 28, 2024

A traditional blanquette, or white ragoût, usually accompanies veal or lamb, but this version with pollock by home cook Simone Bouhours was adapted for family dinners on Catholic fish fasting days. Madame Bouhours pairs it with steamed rice and champignon de Paris, a variety of white button mushroom reportedly first cultivated at Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV in the 17th century. The fillets are quickly poached in a steamer basket or on a rack inserted above a “fait tout,” the everyday saucepan found in most French kitchens. According to her grandson, chef Amaury Bouhours, her secret ingredient is a pinch of nutmeg, which adds a warm note of spice to the unconventional dish.

Featured in “Fish Friday Around the World” by Shane Mitchell.


  • 5 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 7 oz. white button or cremini mushrooms (¾ cup), sliced ¼-in. thick
  • 1¾ cups basmati rice
  • Four 6-oz. fillets mild white fish, preferably haddock, pollock, or sea bream
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Step 1

In a medium pot over medium heat, melt 1 teaspoon of butter. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and cooked through, 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, set aside, and keep warm. 

Step 2

Clean out the pot, then add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the rice and turn the heat to low. Arrange the fish in a steamer basket or on a rack without crowding, then place the basket on top of the pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook until the water evaporates, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to continue steaming until the fish is firm and opaque, and the rice is fluffy, about 10 minutes more.

Step 3

Meanwhile, in a separate medium pot over low heat, melt the remaining butter. Quickly whisk in the flour until just combined (do not allow the mixture to darken). Slowly pour in the milk, whisking continuously, until the sauce develops a creamy consistency, 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg, then season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.

Step 4

Divide the reserved fish, mushrooms, and rice evenly among plates. Pour the sauce over the top of each plate and serve immediately.

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