Make Matthew Tropeano’s Black Bass and Butter-Poached Lobster, From His New Menu at La Silhouette


When Matthew Tropeano left La Grenouille to run the kitchen at La Silhouette recently, he brought with him several new dishes, including Poached Farm Egg over asparagus and oyster mushrooms; Pâté de Campagne; and Poulet Roti Avellino. He shares the recipe for another signature dish here: Black Bass and Butter-Poached Lobster, with Americaine Sauce and Leek Fondue.

“If you’re going to eat lobster, you might as well poach it in butter!” says Tropeano.

Well said.

Black Bass and Butter-Poached Lobster, with Americaine Sauce and Leek Fondue by Matthew Tropeano of La Silhouette


1 two-pound black bass, filleted and skinned
1 one-pound Maine lobster (killed humanely, prior to boiling)
1 large leek, diced small (white and light green parts only)
1/2 cup sliced onions, celery, and carrot (equal parts)
1/2 cup tarragon
1/2 white vinegar
1 cup Cognac
2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup Pernod
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 stick butter, unsalted
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and white pepper, to taste

For the Americaine sauce:

In a pot over high heat, bring half a gallon of water and the vinegar to a boil. Place the lobster in a deep bowl. Pour the boiling water over the lobster and keep it submerged for 3 minutes, no longer. Remove the lobster from the water, and remove the meat from the shell. The meat should be undercooked. Refrigerate the lobster, and save the shells.

In a heavy sauce pot over medium-high heat, sauté the lobster shells in olive oil. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and cook until vegetables are translucent. Toss in the chopped tomatoes, and cook another 5 minutes. Add the Cognac, Pernod, and white wine. Reduce the liquid to half. Then cover the shells and vegetables with cold water. Bring the stock to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour, and strain liquid into another sauce pot. Reduce this liquid by half, then whisk in the heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of butter.

For the leek fondue:

In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter, and add 1 tablespoon of water to that. Add the leeks, and some salt and white pepper for seasoning. Cover the leeks with parchment paper to slowly steam them while cooking for 10 minutes.

For the lobster:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, pour 1/4 of water. Cut 1 stick of butter into small cubes, and gradually whisk in the butter as you increase the heat to high to make beurre fondue. The butter should melt into the pan, but not separate. Cut the lobster tail in half, lengthwise. Reduce the heat to low, and place the tail, knuckles, and claws into the beurre fondue. Gently warm the lobster and hold for plating.

For the bass:

In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat up the olive oil. Sauté the fish on high heat for 2 minutes on one side, then flip and finish cooking for about 2 more minutes.

To plate:

Place a mound of the leek fondue on the base of the plate. Place the black bass on top of the leeks. Top the bass with a half lobster tail, claw, and knuckle. Sauce the dish with the Americaine sauce, and serve.