Poached Black Bass in a Rich Nage
This dish was created by chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in Manhattan.
Yield: serves 4
For the Nage
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 ribs celery, halved crosswise
- 1 large onion, peeled and halved
- 1 bulb fennel, halved
- 1 carrot, peeled, trimmed, and halved
- 1 small ripe tomato, cored
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp. fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp. white peppercorns
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1⁄2 cup champagne vinegar
For the Fish
- 4 (6-oz.) filets black bass
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 8 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1 small ripe tomato, peeled, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2" x 1 1/2" batons
- 5 small scallions, dark green part only, cut into 4"-long pieces, blanched, rinsed under cold water, and halved lengthwise
- 2 (2"-long) thin slices peeled ginger, finely julienned, blanched, and rinsed under cold water
- 1 lemon, trimmed of peel, pith, and membrane; segments cut out
- 12 small leaves cilantro
- For the nage: Put garlic, celery, onions, fennel, carrots, tomato, bay leaf, fennel sees, coriander seeds, salt, peppercorns, wine, vinegar, and 4 quarts water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced to 5 cups, 3-3 1⁄2 hours. Let cool. Strain through a chinois or a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and set aside.
- For the fish: Bring 4 cups of the nage to a simmer in a large skillet over medium heat. Score skin of each bass in 4 places, then season fish with salt and pepper. Poach bass in the simmering nage until just cooked through, 8-10 minutes.
- Bring remaining cup of nage to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low; whisk in butter, 1 tbsp. at a time, whisking until butter melts and sauce is slightly thick and emulsified, 3-4 minutes.
- To serve, transfer fish with a slotted spatula to each of 4 warm plates skin side up, discarding nage. Arrange tomatoes, scallions, ginger, lemon segments, and cilantro around fish. Divide sauce between plates, pouring it around fish.