When Sitka Salmon sent me loads of fish to cook with this year in preparation for a project we were working on, I started working on a few great ways to use frozen fish, especially white-fleshed fish like black rockfish and cod. Making a topping with dried black trumpets, leeks and tomatoes was one of my favorite preps on the first round of things I made, and it is a great method you can apply to lots of fish, using a number of different wild mushrooms.
Black trumpets take well to a lot of preparations, but one of the best parts about them is that they dry and rehydrate like a dream, making cooking with dehydrated ones really easy, so they were the first mushrooms I reached for here. Other mushrooms with a similar structure like yellowfoot chanterelles, as well as things like porcini could work well here too though.
The recipe itself I started working on after I was flipping through an old book by Swiss chef Fredy Girardet, a favorite chef of mine in the world of old-school masters. The dish had no image, but I could see it in my mind. It was just a simple dish of freshly caught white fish (bream I believe) baked with a topping of freshly cooked garden vegetables referred to as a crust.
In America we hear the word crust and think crisp, or crunchy, but here it's used more in the sense of a juicy topping that keeps the fish juicy as it cooks. Tweaking it around a bit wasn't difficult at all, and the black mushrooms make a great contrast to some white fleshed fish.
It's a great way to use some dried mushrooms, and you could use the topping on a number of different things, for example:
- Chicken cutlets
- On top of slices of baked pumpkin or potatoes, baked the same way as a gratin
- Take a slice of good bread and toast it, then top with the mushroom topping, maybe some grated cheese, and bake. Cut into wedges and serve as an appetizer.
- The black trumpet-veggie mixture, without the breadcrumbs, would make a great foccaccia or flatbread topper.
- Use the mushroom filling, along with some cheese, to stuff tomatoes that have been halved and had their seeds removed, then bake until browned per usual.
Baked Fish with Black Trumpet-Vegetable Crust
Black Trumpet-Vegetable Crust
- 4 oz fresh leek tender parts only, cleaned and diced ¼ inch
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 4 oz fresh black trumpets
- 6 tablespoons black trumpet butter or unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- A few grinds of fresh pepper
- 4 oz finely peeled seeded tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoon sliced Italian parsley
- Vegetable oil for drizzling
- 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 4 six oz filets of a white fleshed fish like cod halibut, catfish, etc
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Heat the leeks and stock in a pan and cook until dry and the leeks are tender, then transfer to a bowl to cool. Cut the trumpets into 1 inch pieces roughly, then add to the leeks along with the tomato, salt, melted butter, pepper, and parsley.
- Spread the mushroom mixture over 6 oz pieces of flaky white fish, like cod, sole, rockfish, catfish, etc, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, criss-cross with oil, and broil at 500F for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and just cooked.
- Serve with lemon wedges and whatever vegetable accompaniments.