This recipe is the first dish I ever created that made it onto the menu at Le Bernardin. The black bass with porcini mushrooms and port and sherry reduction holds a special place in my heart and is a symbol of my dream of becoming an Executive Chef and restaurant owner coming true.
Divide 4 tablespoons of canola oil in two non-stick sauté pans and heat until is very hot but not smoking. Season the black bass on both sides with salt and pepper; dust the skin-side only with 5-spice powder. Add the black bass to the pan (skin-side down) and briefly hold down each fillet with a metal spatula to prevent the fish’s skin from shrinking. Sauté the fish until the skin is golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn the fish and cook for another minute, until a metal skewer can be easily inserted into the fish and, when left in for 5 seconds, feels just warm when touched to the lip.
While the fish is cooking, prepare the mushrooms: heat the remaining tablespoon of canola oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat; season the porcini mushrooms with salt and pepper and sauté briefly. Add the shallot, garlic and 1 tablespoon of butter and continue cooking until golden brown and caramelized.
Bring the reduction to a simmer and add the remaining butter to the pan and off of the heat, vigorously swirl the pan until the butter is incorporated and the sauce is very shiny. Do not whisk the sauce since this will cause the sauce to become cloudy.
Arrange the porcini mushrooms in the center of the plates. Place the fish (skin-side up) on top of the mushrooms. Spoon the sauce over and around the fish. Serve immediately.
1 cup port
1 cup sherry vinegar
5 tablespoons canola oil
12 ounces porcini mushrooms,
1 tablespoon minced shallot
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 (6-ounce) black bass fillets,
2 tablespoons Chinese 5-spice
- fine sea salt and freshly
ground white pepper