Eating Sustainably: Black Bass with Kale, Mushrooms, and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Written by on September 15, 2014 in Fish, Other News

Editor’s Note — In this monthly series, Eating Sustainably, we will feature delicious recipes for sustainable seafood created by chef and author Victoria Allman. To remain consistent, we will use only seafood listed as “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

By Victoria Allman, author of SEAsoned: A Chef’s Journey with Her Captain

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

Black sea bass photographed in Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Photo credit: Greg McFall, NOAA.

Black seabass is one of my favorite fish to serve as it is not too fishy and has a firm-flesh that pan-fries, grills, steams, or roasts well. Sea bass (but not to be confused with Chilean sea bass, which is actually a Patagonia toothfish…confused yet?) is a small fish caught in the Northern Atlantic. It has a mild, yet delicious flavor.

Caught wild in traps from Maine to North Carolina, this fish is sought after but the mid-Atlantic populations, due to set quotas, has recently been deemed as rebuilt putting sea bass on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch List as a Best Choice. This fishery is a success story that was once overfished but have now recovered to a healthy population.

Black Bass with Sautéed Kale, Brown Beech Mushrooms and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

For the roasted red pepper sauce:
2 red peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1⁄4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
salt and pepper

For the black bass:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon Piement d’Espelette
salt and pepper
4 (6 oz) fillets black bass

For the kale:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint brown beech mushrooms, separated from roots
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed
salt and pepper

For the olive oil drizzle:
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon piment d’ Espelette

Black Bass. Photo courtesy of Victoria Allman.

Black Bass. Photo courtesy of Victoria Allman.

Make the red pepper sauce:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast the peppers in the oven until the flesh is soft and the skin blisters, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and put them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 10 minutes to sweat. Remove the wrap, peel and seedthe peppers. Set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft. About 3 minutes. Deglaze with white wine and cook 1 minute. Add the stock and the red pepper. Cook 5 minutes. Puree in a blender with sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper. Place in a small saucepot and keep warm over low heat.

Marinate the black bass:
Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and marinate the black bass for 20 minutes while making the kale. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Sauté the kale:
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes until the shallots are soft. Add the mushrooms and sauté a further 3 minutes. Season and add the kale and white beans, sautéing a further 5 minutes until the kale wilts and the beans have heated through. Taste for seasoning. Place in a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

Sear the black bass:
Return the heavy-bottomed frying pan to the heat. Place each black bass fillet in the pan flesh side down and sear for 3 minutes until the flesh starts to turn golden. Flip the fish over and place the pan in the oven to finish cooking, approximately 10 minutes.

Mix the olive oil drizzle:
While the fish is cooking, mix together the olive oil, thyme, and piment d’Espellette.

Plate the fish:
Place one ounce of sauce on each plate off-center to one side. Divide the kale between each plate beside the sauce. Place the fish half on top of both the sauce and the kale. Drizzle the olive oil mixture around the plate.

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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