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Seared Wild Striped Bass with Tomato Sage "Fondue"

Seared Wild Striped Bass with Tomato Sage "Fondue"

Sustainable Seafood Recipe

"It's like a coastal comfort food," says chef Michel Nischan of his fresh-flavored recipe for striped bass. "You've got that really good ripe tomato flavor and great mouthfeel because there's a little bit of butter in there." Plus, says Nischan, the sage gives a flavor reminiscent of Thanksgiving.

Both farmed and wild-caught striped bass from the United States are on the Seafood Watch green "Best Choice" list. Wild Atlantic striped bass are at record levels because of effective fishery management and strong conservation actions.

  • (Serves 6)
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, sliced
  • Sea salt
  • 6 skin-on striped bass fillets, each about 6 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons diced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 heirloom tomatoes , preferably 2 or 3 varieties (about 2 pounds)


Using a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic, sage and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until combined and fragrant.  Season the fillets with sea salt.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Put the grapeseed oil in the hot pan and immediately add the fillets, skin sides down. Lightly press each fillet to ensure the skin makes contact with the hot pan. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the flesh nearest the bottom of the pan begins to turn brown.

Use a thin spatula to turn the fillets over. Add the shallots and softened butter to one side of the pan while tilting the pan towards you slightly. The butter will immediately melt and bubble and collect with the shallots in the nook of the pan closest to you. Use a large tablespoon to baste the fillets with the butter and shallots and continue basting for about 2 minutes. Transfer the fillets to a warm, oven-proof platter. Check the doneness of the fillets. If they need a little more cooking, put the platter in a 250-degree oven for 2 to 3 minutes. The bass should be cooked through but not over-cooked.

To make the fondue, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tomato slices, cold butter and garlic-sage paste to the skillet. Cook at a simmer, gently moving the ingredients around the pan with a wooden spoon to distribute the butter and garlic paste evenly until the sauce comes together.

To serve, spoon the fondue on a warm serving platter and set the fillets on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

Recipe from Sustainably Delicious: Making the World a Better Place, One Recipe at a Time, by Michel Nischan, Mary Goodbody and Nell Newman. Available in April, 2010. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Books, copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Michel Nischan
Chef and author Michel Nischan cofounded Dressing Room: A Homegrown Restaurant, with Actor Paul Newman at the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut.

Best Choice U.S. striped bass; farmed and wild

U.S. Striped Bass;
Farmed and Wild

Striped bass farms in the United States are well managed. Bass farms are usually located inland, so ocean pollution from discharge of wastewater is not a problem. Wild striped bass are caught with net gear that have little impact on fish habitat. Atlantic striped bass are at record levels as a result of effective fishery management and strong conservation actions.
iPhone Our app brings you up-to-date recommendations for ocean-friendly seafood and sushi. And the newest version, with Project FishMap, lets you share the locations of restaurants and markets where you've found sustainable seafood. As the map grows, you'll also be able to see what others have found near you.

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