Here is a dish I served last night for a few guests that came over for dinner and was a huge hit with everyone.  I had cured and smoked 2 fillets of Sable (Black Cod) fish and was looking for something to do with it.  All I knew is I had the cod and I had both purple and green shiso growing in the garden and wanted to make some sort of sauce with one of them.  These types of dishes come from what I have on hand and with all the abundant summer produce to choose from; the refrigerator at work is normally stocked with a ton good things.  It also doesn't hurt to have a few things preserved that you can quickly add to a dish as well.  In this case it was the mushroom conserva.  I have know idea what genre of cuisine this is but it all worked out, I think this is my Californian cuisine.  When I worked in Dallas the last year or two I was really leaning towards this kind of cuisine and then I moved to San Francisco.  Long story short is, I love to cook when I am in California.  Enough small talk on to the recipe.

2 fillets of black cod, bones removed skin on

2 1/2 cups of salt

2 1/2 cups of sugar

1/3 cup of lemon verbena leaves

1 tbsp of peppercorns


Cherry Shiso Gel

1 cup of bing cherries pits and stems removed

1/2 onion sliced

1 tbsp of ginger small diced

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 jalapeño sliced seeds too

1/3 cup of mirin

1/3 cup of rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups of whole purple shiso leaves rinsed

1 1/2 tsp of agar 

1/4 cup of water

salt to taste 


Mushroom Conserva (adapted from Thomas Keller)

2lb of wild mushrooms (mitake, Beech, Cremeni, Porcini, Shitake, etc...)

1 cup of grape seed oil

1 cup of olive oil

5 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

1 large sprig of thyme and rosemary

1/4 cup of lemon verbena leaves

3 tbsp of sherry vinegar

1/2 onion

salt and black pepper


1/4 cup of fried capers

1 large red radish slice thin

1/4 cup of micro sorrel

1/4 cup of micro chervil

10 large black grapes sliced


For the Smoked Sable (Black Cod)   Note. Needs to be done at least 2-3 days ahead of time.

Please see technique for curing and smoking fish here .  It is basically the same recipe except you add the verbena instead of lavender.  

Mushroom Conserva,

Trim the mushrooms of tough stems if any and any dirt that may be on them.  Cut large mushroom into pieces and keep the small ones whole.  In a pot add the oil, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and verbena.  Bring the oil up to 170 degrees.  Then pour in the mushrooms carefully.  Turn the mushrooms periodically.  When the oil comes back up to 170 degrees cook for another 5 minutes.  Then turn off the heat and add the vinegar, salt and pepper.  Let the mushrooms steep in the oil for 45 minutes.  Then transfer to a container and keep in the refrigerator.  The mushrooms should be submerged in the oil.  Serve the mushrooms hot or cold and will keep for a month.   

For the Cherry Shiso Sauce

In a small sauté pan on medium heat add oil, onion, jalapeño, and ginger.  Cook for 4 minutes and then add the cherries.  Cook for another two minutes and then add mirin, vinegar, water, and sugar.  Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and add a pinch of salt.  Cook for 10 minutes and then add the agar.  Cook for another 10 minutes and then pour everything in to a vita mix along with the shiso leaves.  Puree until smooth, season with salt and pass through a chinois into a bowl.  Allow to cool completely until it has become a hard and gelatinous.  Then break up the gelatinous sauce and put back into the vita mix and puree until a smooth gel is formed.  Pour into a squeeze bottle and place in the refrigerator. ( The sauce will have a strong flavor of spice, herbaceous and sweet)

To finish the dish,

Take four plates and squirt dots of the cherry shiso sauce all over the plates.  Then take out the sable fish and thinly slice 3-4 pieces to each plate.  Add 1 slice of grape and radish to each fish.  Then add a small piece of mushroom on top each piece of fish.  Add the fried caper all around.  Finish with the micro sorrel and chervil.  Serve and enjoy!