Red Snapper and Wild Mushrooms with Port Reduction

Feb 26, 2012 by



2 cups port (aged is better, but get what you can afford)
2 cups sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound fresh wild mushrooms (I basically walked into the grocery store and picked out 3 types of odd looking woodland mushrooms; all I can say for sure if that they were not Portobello— one of them might have been Porcini. They were definitely some shade of brown. Ha. My memory is terrible.)
2 branches fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
1 large shallot, peeled and finely diced
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
Ground sea salt
Ground white pepper (or black, if it’s the only thing available)
4 (6-ounce) red snapper fillets
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
4 teaspoons minced fresh chives




Bring the port to a boil in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Lower the heat slightly and simmer until it is reduced to 1 cup. Once it is reduced, add the vinegar and simmer until everything has been reduced to a syrup consistency. This literally takes forever (an hour?) but the result is worth it, and on the plus side, it’s just kinda hanging out on the back burner, doing it’s thang while you’re making the rest of the meal.



Meanwhile: Thoroughly wash the mushrooms, because they will be dirty (think of how dirty you would be if you’d been living in the woods for years). Then, remove roughly cut the mushrooms (caps, stems, all) into ¼” slices.



Add the canola oil to the skillet, along with the garlic, thyme and mushrooms. (I used 2 pans for this step because none of my super huge pans were clean at the time.)



Sauté the mushrooms for 4 minutes, then add the shallot and 2 Tbsp. of the butter. Cook about 6 minutes more until the shallot is softened. Discard the garlic and thyme.



Season both sides of the snapper with salt, pepper and the five-spice powder, rubbing these seasonings into the fish as you go.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil over high heat and add the red snapper, cooking 5 minutes on each side. I also recommend pressing the fish into the pan with a spatula to keep the skin from shrinking away from the fish.


While the fish is cooking, add 3 Tbsp. of butter (1 Tbsp. at a time) to the port reduction, shaking the pan back and forth to combine the butter. The butter’s purpose is to install some much-needed fat into the reduction, and keep it from acting like a sticky taffy once it hits the plate and starts to cool.




To serve: Plate the fish, cover with a portion of the mushrooms, drizzle generously with the port wine reduction and scatter the chopped chives about the plate. Also, congratulate yourself for successfully making (or attempting to make) a recipe with the word “reduction” in it. Yippee! You’re practically a pro!
To serve, stir the chives into the mushrooms and arrange them in the center of 4 large plates. 


This recipe was adapted, respectfully, (with a sense of laziness and frugality) from the Le Bernardin Cookbook by Maguy Le Coze and Eric Ripert.


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