Raymond Campbell - Vintage Port 1977
Vintage Port 1977
Raymond Campbell
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"To cook is to create. And to create well...is an act of integrity, and faith."


Striped Bass, Leeks, Shiitake Mushrooms
and a Vintage Port Sauce




"Fish, to taste right, must swim three times -
in water, in butter, and in wine."

~ Polish Proverb

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Friday, November 10, 2006

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Striped Bass, Leeks, Shiitake Mushrooms,
and a Vintage Port Sauce

Alfred Portale's Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook
Alfred Portale's
Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook

by Alfred Portale, 1997, Doubleday

“This dish was featured on my first Gotham menu in 1985,and I’ve presented it here as we first served it. The recipe calls for shiitake mushrooms, although sometimes we use more costly chanterelles .The vintage port sauce uses plenty of garlic, which gives the sauce a heady undercurrent of flavor. Similarly, the reduction of the port concentrates its notes of sugar and fruit, giving the sauce a surprising balance. This sauce is a variation on a beurre blanc, the classic French butter sauce, in which butter is whisked, one piece at a time, into a reduction of wine and vinegar to which a few tablespoons of cream are added. While beurre blancs are used more sparingly in today’s calorie-conscious society, it’s a classic sauce and an important technique to understand.
In this dish the bass is cooked over high heat to crisp its skin, adding yet another texture and a pleasing ‘mouthfeel’.”

Makes 4 servings

Thinking Ahead: The leeks and mushrooms may be prepared as much as 4 hours in advance. The sauce may be prepared as much as 1 hour in advance. Both should be kept at room temperature.

4 medium leeks, trimmed
2 cups water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Cut the leeks crosswise on a bias into 1/2-inch slices, including 1 inch of the light green tops. Rinse the leeks well, separating them into individual rings. In a large saucepan, combine the leeks, water, and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the leeks are barely tender, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. If necessary, reheat the leeks in their cooking liquid. Drain just before serving.

Shiitake Mushrooms
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
14 medium shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded,
caps sliced into 1/4-inch-thick strips
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Four 7-ounce striped bass fillets
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Vintage Port Sauce (recipe follows)

In a 12-inch nonstick sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it’s very hot but not smoking. Season the bass on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the bass, skin side down, in the sauté pan. Cook until nicely browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until the fish is barely opaque in the center, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
In the center of 4 warmed dinner plates, place mounds of leeks and mushrooms, then a bass fillet and spoon the port sauce around the fish.

Vintage Port Sauce

Makes about 3/4 cup

9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter,
chilled, cut into tablespoons
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup imported ruby port wine
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more if needed
1/2 cup heavy cream
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
A generous 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

In a medium nonreactive saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook without coloring, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the port wine and vinegar.
Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to about 2 tablespoons, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low. Whisk in a piece of butter at a time, whisking until butter is incorporated into the sauce before adding more. Strain. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and balance the acidity with more vinegar if necessary. Keep the sauce warm. Wait until just before serving to stir in the chives.

Butter-based sauces can be kept warm for up to 1 hour by placing the saucepan in a skillet filled with hot tap water. Keep the water hot, but not simmering, over very low heat. Or, pour the sauce into a large-mouthed vacuum jar (warm the jar first by rinsing it out with hot water), and close tightly.

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Baked Fish in Red Wine Sauce 

Click for Index - Fish Recipe Archives

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