Whole Roasted Black Bass with Salsa Verde
Cooking a whole fish can be intimidating, but in reality it is extremely simple and yields great reward. By cooking the fish whole, you gain more natural flavor and juiciness due to the bone. The salsa verde provided an incredible accompaniment that I could have just eaten by the spoonful. It is a great sauce to have in your repertoire and can be used for literally anything.
I selected wild Black Sea Bass, but any whole fresh fish would do. I preheated the oven to 425 and cut 4 to 5 slits about ½ inch into the flesh of both sides of the fish. I filled each opening with a thin slice of lemon and a small amount of herb mixture. The herb mixture contained a tbsp each of tarragon, basil, chives, and parsley. The remaining herbs and lemon slices were used to fill the cavity of the fish. I popped the bass into a pan and coated it with 2 tbsp of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and roasted it for 30-40 minutes.
While the fish roasted I prepared my crack:
Recipe adapted from My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow (a really fantastic cookbook with great inspiration and healthful recipes despite the celebrity author)
- 6 olive oil-packed anchovies cut into small pieces
- 1 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ cup roughly chopped chives
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Put anchovies into a bowl and stir in the mustard and vinegar. Add the herbs and slowly stream in the olive oil. Season with pepper. (No need for salt since the anchovies provide saltiness)
So simple, yet so delicious. The sauce has a great balance of tang from the mustard and vinegar, robust flavor from all the herbs, and a subtle saltiness from the anchovies.