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Pan Seared Local Black Bass
in a citrus-ginger sauce with sweet potato puree & a sauté of seasonal local produce

Chef Peter J. Fischbach
Gourmet Dining Services at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ

photo of black bass

2 ea Local caught black bass *(scaled, cleaned & filleted)
Kosher salt as needed
Fresh cracked black pepper as needed
Unsalted butter as needed
4 oz. corn oil
4 oz. flour (sifted)
½ oz. ginger (peeled & sliced)
Juice & zest of 1 orange (separate)
Juice & zest of 1 lime (separate)
Juice & zest of 1 lemon (separate)
1 tsp granulated sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 shallot (minced)
2 peppercorns
1 small bay leaf
1 oz. Vodka

Carrot (peeled & fine julienne)
Red pepper (Cleaned & Paysanne)
Yellow squash (seeded & small diced)
Green squash (seeded & tourné)
Green beans (cut rondelle)
Red onions (brunoise)
Fresh local herbs (Chives whole & minced)
6 ea. Medium sweet potatoes or yams (roasted until tender then peeled & pureed)
½ Vanilla bean (split & scraped)
2 Tbsp 100% maple syrup
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 Russet potato (peeled and trimmed to the shape of a oval with the front & back cut flat should look like a band aide then placed in cold water)


For The Fish
Be sure to scale the fish very well before gutting and filleting the fish. After the fish has been filleted you want to get all of the excess water out of the skin so it will crisp up when cooking. The way to do this is to drag the blade of your knife over the skin of the fish pressing down gently but firmly, then drag the knife back over the skin squeezing the water off of the skin. Repeat this process several times until you have gotten as much of the water out as possible. This will allow for a crisp skin with out over cooking the fish. Then using a paper towel pat the skin dry and with a sharp knife make 4-5 small incisions on each fillet about 1 inch long across the skin. Scoring the skin will help prevent the fish from curling, this happens when heat is add to the skin and it shrinks pulling on the delicate flesh that it is attached to, causing the to flesh to curl under. When storing the fillets place the fillets skin side down on a paper towel then roll each fillet separately in the paper towel, set on a plate and place in the refrigerator until needed.

For The Sweet Potato Puree
Pre-heat an oven to 400 degrees. Then rub the sweet potatoes or yams with very little corn oil & kosher salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake until soft, about 45 min. Once cooked let sit for two minuets, while potatoes are sitting heat ¼ cup heavy cream and 1 oz. unsalted butter in a small sauté pan over low heat. Then puree the sweet potatoes in a ricer, and fold in the maple syrup, brown sugar and cream & butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a double boiler to keep warm until service

For The Herbed Chip
Be sure to have all the ingredients ready when you begin and work quickly to prevent the potato from oxidizing (turning color)
Pre-heat an oven to 275 degrees F.
Brush two silpats with clarified butter and sprinkle each with salt. Place one silpat on a baking sheet. Using a mandoline, slice the potato lengthwise into paper thin slices. As you slice the potatoes stack them in the order you cut them so the stay relatively the same size. Place the potato slice on the silpat in pairs, keeping the matching one’s side by side. Place a chive in the center of one of the potato slices then cover the slice with its match. Use your fingers to press and smooth out the potato slice to help squeeze out any air pockets.
Place the second silpat over the potatoes buttered side down and top it with baking sheet to help weight the potatoes down and keep them flat. Bake for 20-25 minuets, reversing the pan half way through the cooking process. The chips should be golden brown when they are finished.

For The Sauce
In a medium sauté pan over medium heat sweat the shallots with a small amount of fat until the shallots are translucent. Then deglaze with vodka, and add orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, ginger, bay leaf, peppercorn and sugar. Allow to reduce, slowly over low to medium heat until reduced by 2/3, then strain through a chinois and set aside until just before you are ready to plate your entrée. Once ready to plate the entree add ½ cup of heavy cream and allow to reduce by ¼ and remove from heat, once removed from heat Wisk in 2 oz. of softened room temperature unsalted butter to emulsify sauce and garnish with ½ of the zest from the citrus fruits, serve the dish.

For The Vegetables
Just before service in a medium sauté pan over medium heat, place 1 oz. unsalted butter and lightly sauté the vegetables until just tender. Season with kosher salt & fresh minced chives, set aside and Keep warm.

For The Fish
Eight minuets before service heat a large cast iron pan over medium to high heat, once pan is hot add 2 oz. unsalted butter.
Season bass with freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt then dredge in sifted flour, and sear skin side down. Using the tip of a Fish spatula lightly press down on the flesh of the bass to ensure the skin of the fish is lying flat in the pan to ensure even browning & crisping of the skin. Occasionally tilt the skillet and using a table’s spoon, spoon the hot butter over the flesh of the bass basting it. After about four minuets the skin should be golden brown and crispy, at this point you want to gently flip the fish over so that the flesh side is down and the skin is up. You also want to baste the skin this will help to evenly crisp and color the fish, only cook the flesh side of the fish for one to two minuets, then remove from heat and allow to set of a half a minuet as you get the plate ready.

For The dish
To plate the Fish, start by putting the hot sweet potato puree in to a 12” pastry bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe a nice rosette in the center of the plate. Next using a slotted spoon, spoon out the sautéed vegetables just in front of the sweet potatoes, place the crispy black bass over top of the sautéed vegetables skin side up, then spoon out the citrus-ginger sauce and garnish by place the herb chip in the center of the sweet potato rosette and sprinkle the sweet potato with mince chive.

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