Red Over Black (Video)

Pan Roasted Red Mullet, Forbidden Rice, Black Trumpet Duxelles and “Romesco” Sauce

Red mullet, Forbidden rice, Black Trumpet duxelles and “Romesco” sauce.
"Light Red Over Black" Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko’s “Light Red Over Black” exemplifies the artist’s color mastery.

It’s two black squares on a red background.   True. But wait!  There’s more! 

Let your eyes wander and different focal points emerge.  Rothko used multiple layers of color and different mediums to create visual and textual contrasts. The black you see has very little black.  Rothko painted several thin coats of varying dark tones to achieve degrees of blackness.  As a result, Rothko’s minimalist palette evoked sensual responses-visually and emotionally. 

Ok.  What does a painting have to do with cooking?  A lot.  Chefs layer flavors and textures to create a sensory experience-visually and on the taste buds. 

For example, Romesco sauce.  Spanish fishermen created the sauce to go with their daily catch.

Romesco sauce.

Romesco sauce has an appealing orangish hue and is smooth and crunchy.

The color and texture come from pulverizing roasted red bell peppers, tomatoes and almonds.  Pulverize them separately and the “sauce” takes on different hues and consistencies.

For the whole dish, let’s stick with Rothko’s minimalist red and black palette.  Red mullet is more budget friendly than the pricey Red Snapper.  Red Mullet flakes well and has mild nutty undertones, echoing the almonds in the sauce.  The Forbidden Rice has similar nutty hints and a toothsome texture.  Finally, the Black Trumpet Duxelles add a creamy earthiness.

Take a look at the video to see how everything comes together.

Notes on preparation and substituting ingredients.  The pickled bell peppers can be made 2 weeks in advance.  The Black Trumpet Duxelles can be prepared a week before and both of the coulis can be made 3 days in advance.

Feel free to experiment with different rices and mushrooms, such as brown rice and shiitakes. You’ll evoke distinct sensations each time.

Serves 4

8 Red Mullet fillets.

1 cup cooked Forbidden Rice

¼ cup diced roasted bell pepper

2 tablespoons diced sundried tomatoes

Black Trumpet Duxelles (recipe follows)

Tomato Coulis (recipe follows)

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Coulis (recipe follows)

24 strands Pickled Red Bell Peppers (recipe follows)

Smoked Paprika-Almond Powder (recipe follows)


If necessary, reheat the duxelles, tomato and red bell pepper coulis.  Zapping them in the microwave for a minute is fine.  I nuked them and they tasted great!   

Gently fold the roasted bell pepper and sundried tomatoes into the Forbidden Rice.  

Check the fish for any small pin bones and remove the bones with tweezers.  Gently run a knife’s blade over the fish skin, like a squeegee, to remove excess moisture.  This step ensures that you’ll have crispy fish skin.

Season the fish on both sides with salt and white pepper.  Heat 1/8 inch canola in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Place the fillets skin side down and press with a spatula to keep the fillets flat.  Cook for one minute, flip the fillets and cook for about 30 seconds more.  Remove the fillets to a paper towel lined plate.


Using a small strainer, shake some Smoked Paprika-Almond powder on the plate. 

Fill a 2 inch ring mold with Forbidden Rice and place it on the plate.  Form quenelles (or just make scoops if it’s easier) of the Black Trumpet duxelles and lay them next to the rice. 

Place one Red Mullet fillet on the rice and and one on the duxelles.  Using squeeze bottles, squeeze lines of the tomato coulis and then lines of the roasted bell pepper coulis around the plate. 

Top each fillet with three strands of pickled red pepper.  Serve immediately. 

Black trumpet and shiitake mushrooms, shallot, garlic, thyme and lemon.

Black Trumpet Duxelles

½ pound Black Trumpet Mushrooms

½ pound Shiitake Mushrooms

1 shallot, finely minced

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil


Finely chop the mushrooms in a food processor.  Heat the butter and oil in a non-stick skillet over medium low heat and add the mushrooms.  Sweat the mushrooms for 3 minutes and add a pinch of salt to draw out the moisture.  Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring often.  Add the shallot and garlic and raise the heat to medium.  Cook for ten minutes more, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the lemon juice and thyme and cook for three minutes more.  Place the duxelles in a container and allow to cool. 

The duxelles can be prepared up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator. 

Makes about 1 cup.

Tomatoes, shallots and garlic

Tomato Coulis

5 Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil


Sweat the shallots and garlic over low heat for three minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for five minutes.  Blend for one minute and strain.  Season with salt and pepper.  The coulis will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Makes about 1 cup.

Red bell peppers.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Coulis

3 red bell peppers (Jarred red bell peppers work in a pinch.)

Olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees.  Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems and seeds.  Place the peppers on a sheet pan and coat them inside and out with a little olive oil.

Roast the peppers in the oven for 20 minutes or so or until the skin has charred and separated from the flesh.  Place the peppers in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins.

Puree the peppers in a food processor for one minute and strain.  Season with salt and pepper. The coulis will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Makes about 1 cup. 

Red bell pepper, red wine vinegar, sugar, bay leaves and cloves.

Pickled Red Peppers

1 medium sized red bell pepper, finely sliced into 1 inch batons. 

1 cup red wine vinegar

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

2 bay leaves

2 cloves


Place the red bell pepper in an air tight container.  Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil and pour over the pepper slices.  Let cool, seal and refrigerate.  Pickling the peppers the night before allows the flavors to develop and you can make them up to two weeks in advance. 

Makes about ½ cup of pickled red peppers.

Almonds and smoked paprika.

Smoked Paprika Almond Powder

¼ cup sliced almonds

½ teaspoon smoked paprika


Place the almonds on a small sheet pan and roast in a 325 degree oven for about 5 minutes.  Let cool.  Place the almonds, smoked paprika and a pinch of salt in a coffee grinder.  Pulse the grinder until you have the texture you like.  The powder can be frozen in an airtight container for one month.

Makes about a scant ¼ cup.

If you love fish, mushrooms or abstract art, please like and share. We would also love to hear your comments!

Rating: 1 out of 5.

2 thoughts on “Red Over Black (Video)

  1. Nice That you prepare so much before! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close