Until I entered culinary school, bass was a musical instrument, not food for consumption. But as it turns out, bass can create music for the ear and harmony on a plate. Especially striped bass of the farmed or wild-caught kind. And if (like me) you thought a fish like bass was just too fishy to enjoy, there’s a trick.
Or two or three. Chorizo sausage is the first, black beans and sun-dried tomatoes numbers two and three. The rich, creamy, salty and savory flavors of this trio cut perfectly through the assertive flavors of bass. Which, by the way…
… is a fish that can be found in different forms in different regions depending on local supply. Sometimes it’s farmed, in other areas such as the Northeast it can be caught wild. Hybrid striped bass and black bass caught in the Pacific Northwest with a hook and line are the most sustainable options, but there is a plethora (search “bass”) to choose from in the name of ocean friendliness…
And if I want my Fridays to be anything, it’s friendly.
- 12 oz Spanish chorizo sausage, raw, in bulk form (spicy Italian also works)
- 1 cup tomato purée
- 2 cups dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- ½ cup clam juice
- ½ cup water
- 2 tsp black peppercorns, whole
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- ½ cup Spanish onion, small diced
- ½ cup fennel, small diced
- 4, 5 oz Striped Bass fillets, skin on or off
- Flour, Wondra brand recommended
- ½ cup black beans, cooked, drained and rinsed (from a can is fine)
- 3 artichoke hearts, frozen, cooked per directions and quartered
- 1 Roma tomato, diced
- 2 or 3 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced thin
- Canola oil, for sautéing
- Butter, for sautéing
- Salt and black pepper, for seasoning
- 2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Brown in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Drain on paper towels and reserve.
- In a medium to large pot sauté onions and fennel in a drizzle of canola oil. Add white wine and reduce to one cup over high heat. Add tomato purée, clam juice, water, peppercorns, thyme and garlic.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, or until flavor develops. Strain out vegetables and reserve broth.
- Season fillets generously with salt and ground black pepper. Preheat a large sauté pan with a thin coating of canola oil. Lightly flour fish, and cook fillets over medium-high heat starting skin side down.
- Flip fish once, and cook until fillets turn opaque in color and begin to flake.
- While fish cooks, combine strained broth, sausage, black beans, and Roma and sun-dried tomatoes in a sauce pot.
- Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Heat artichoke quarters in butter and season with salt and black pepper. Serve bass in broth with artichokes, and garnish with parsley.