Monday, November 7, 2011

Eric Ripert’s Striped bass in Savoy cabbage with Bacon-Butter sauce

The dish and the Chef who invented it, Eric Ripert.
         I love it when Eric Ripert comes on the Today Show and performs his wizardry with fish.  I’ve featured one of his Today Show recipes before and it was a snap to make.  Of course, Chef Ripert manages to cram the entire cooking process into a fast-paced television segment.  This one clocked in at 3 minutes and 40 seconds.  I wish I could tell you that the dish actually came together that quickly.  But it doesn’t.  It takes about 45 minutes to make.  The results, however, are well the effort. The deliciously simple white flaky fish is perfect partner for the leafy green cabbage and the crisp Bacon and butter sauce.  And besides I think it’s the closest I am going to get to sampling Chef Ripert’s cuisine any time soon.

The newly renovated and perpetually 4 starred Le Bernardin
         Le Bernardin, Chef Ripert’s luxe Manhattan restaurant has just been renovated.  The results from all appearances are spectacular.  The Restaurant is one of 6 four star establishments in New York and has gotten 4 stars from the New York Times the last 4 times it has been reviewed.   So it is just about impossible for mere mortals to get a table that is, if you don’t want to eat at either 5:30 or 10:00.  I discovered this when I went to make a reservation to celebrate Andrew’s birthday.  First, I was informed that reservations were only accepted a month in advance. I duly noted the date on my calendar and early that morning called again.  That’s when I was told my 5:30 or 10:00 options.  I love a good early bird as much as the rest of you but not on a first visit to Le Bernardin.  And 10:00 is pushing it when you’re in Buenos Aires let alone New York.  So instead we’ll head elsewhere and savor Chef Ripert’s handiwork at home.  Here’s the recipe: 

Recipe for Striped Bass in Savoy Cabbage with Bacon-Butter Sauce

4 ounces smoked bacon, cut in to 1/4 inch wide strips
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup clam stock
1 large head savoy cabbage
4 (6 ounce) portions striped bass fillet*
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
8 sprigs fresh chervil, optional
*Have the fishmonger cut this properly for you.  Unfortunately, you need to have the belly portion cut off and use just part of the filet nearest the backbone. 

Place the bacon in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Sauté until browned, and crisp about 4 to 6 minutes. Drain the bacon onto a towel lined plate or tray and place all but 1 tablespoon into a medium-size saucepan. 

Add the wine to the saucepan, bring the wine to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and clam stock, lower the heat slightly and simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Strain the reduced stock into another clean saucepan and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Core the cabbage and remove the very green, outer leaves and discard. Pull off 4 very nice pale green leaves from the cabbage, trim off the tough center rib and set aside to blanch. Continue peeling the rest of the leaves of cabbage, reserving the core for another use.
Cut the white, center rib out of each of the cabbage leaves. Stack 2 leaves together, roll the cabbage leaves and cut the cabbage leaves into 1 inch strips. Repeat with the remaining leaves.
Blanch the whole cabbage leaves in boiling water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water and set aside. Blanch the sliced cabbage in the boiling water until tender, about 1 minute; refresh under cold running water, drain and set aside. 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Evenly season the striped bass filets on both sides with salt and white pepper. Lay out the whole leaves of blanched cabbage, making sure to overlap where needed. Season the leaves with salt and pepper. Place a piece of fish in the center of each leaf of cabbage. Wrap each filet by folding in the edges of the cabbage. Place the cabbage bundles in a roasting dish and add just enough water to barely cover the bottom. Bake the cabbage bundles until a metal skewer can be easily inserted into the fish and, when left in the fish for 5 seconds, feels hot when touched to your lip, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the sauce to a simmer and whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until fully emulsified. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm. Place the sliced cabbage in another saucepan and add half of the bacon sauce and the reserved crispy bacon. Warm the cabbage over medium heat until hot. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, make oval-shaped beds of cabbage in the center of 4 large plates. Place the baked fish on top of the cabbage. Spoon the sauce over the fish and around the cabbage, to cover the plates. Garnish with chervil, if desired. Serve immediately.
Serves 4


  1. There is a Public Broadcast Chef series on the West Coast that features Chefs such as Eric Ripert, Ming Tsai, Jacques Pepin, Walter Staub, etc. that I watch regularly and truly, every Kudo received with Eric Ripert is well deserved. Even the continued Top Ten Best Looking Chefs he is always on, which just cracks me up, so true. C: I don't know what I could substitute the Bacon with, (It's really not interchangeable with this type of flavor combination), however, the fun part is sometime the "tweaking", right? Perhaps smoked beef? This looks lovely, and so does Eric, er... the Bass...

  2. Ana, boy did you get that last part right! He has a summer house near ours and we see him frequently around town. He is always truly the gentleman and a wonderful Dad. And not bad to look at at all. I wish I could help you with the bacon -- perhaps lardons or prosciutto? But those are still pork products of course. Any one else have any suggestions?