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Seared Wild Striped Bass on Chive Whipped Potatoes with Truffle Vinaigrette and Shiitake Mushrooms


Wild striped bass is a "meaty" fish and when Moonen pairs it with earthy accompaniments such as shiitake mushrooms and truffle vinaigrette, it stands up beautifully to a red wine of some depth. If you can't find wild striped bass in your local fish market, this recipe will work with any non-oily, firm-fleshed fish such as black sea bass, grouper, monkfish or cod. The shoestring potatoes are a tasty but optional garnish.

Wine recommendations: Moonen describes this dish, with its mushrooms, potatoes and truffles, as "pure earth." The wine needs similar structure—acidity and earth. "This screams Pinot Noir," he says. "It screams something rustic." The chef and his wine director recommend a J.K. Carriere 1999 Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley, or the even denser Alta Vista 1998 Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina.

American/New American
Adapted from a recipe by Chef Rick Moonen, of Oceana in New York.
Number of Servings
Serves 6
For the truffle vinaigrette:
* 2 cups chicken stock
* 1/4 cup finely diced shallot
* 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 3/4 cup truffle oil
* 1 cup grapeseed oil
* 1/3 cup finely chopped truffle peelings, optional

For the chive oil:
* 1 cup well-chilled vegetable oil
* 1 bunch fresh chives, finely sliced
* Salt

For the chive whipped potatoes:
* 4 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and quartered
* 3/4 cup heavy cream
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 1/4 cup chive oil (see recipe)
* Diced chives

For the shiitake mushrooms:
* 1/2 cup haricot verts
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 cup shiitake mushrooms
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 1 1/2-2 tablespoons chopped shallots
* 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
* 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
* 1/4 cup seeded, diced tomatoes

For the shoestring potatoes:
* 2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut with a mandoline or sharp knife into thin
"shoestring" strips
* 3 cups oil
* Salt

For the bass: * 6 (6-8 ounce) wild striped bass fillets, skin on
* 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
To make the vinaigrette: Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan set over high heat until the liquid reduces in volume to about 1/2 cup. Place the shallots into a large stainless steel mixing bowl and pour the hot stock over them. Steep for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, season with salt and pepper to taste and slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until completely blended. Stir in truffle peelings, if you are using them. Set aside until ready to serve. (This recipe makes 2 1/4 cups. Leftover vinaigrette can be refrigerated for several weeks.)

To make the mashed potatoes and chive oil: Place the potatoes into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a dash of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 15 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, make the chive oil by blending oil and chives in a food processor until puréed. Season to taste with salt. (Any leftover can be refrigerated for 1 week.)

When tender, drain the potatoes and mash with cream, butter, salt and pepper. Stir in 1/4 cup chive oil and diced chives and keep warm until ready to serve.

To make the shiitake mushrooms: Heat a pot of water to a rolling boil, add the haricot verts and a dash of salt and boil for about 90 seconds, until tender crisp. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Drain the haricot verts and plunge into ice water for 30 seconds. Drain again and set aside.

In a frying pan set over medium-high heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the shiitakes, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes, until the mushrooms are softened and lightly browned. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and continue cooking for about 2 minutes, until shallots and garlic are soft and translucent. Add the haricots verts, toss to combine and remove from heat. Stir in the diced tomato. Keep warm until ready to serve.

To make the shoestring potatoes: heat the oil in a skillet set over low heat, until it reaches 350F. Add the potatoes in a single layer, working in batches if necessary, and cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are crispy and beginning to brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon, place on paper towels to drain and season with salt to taste. Set aside until ready to serve.

To prepare the bass: Preheat the oven to 375F. Brush bass fillets generously with butter, skin-side only. Score the skin lightly with a sharp knife to keep it from curling. Heat a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over very high heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the bottom of the skillet, add the oil and swirl to coat. Place fillets into the hot pan, skin-side down in a single layer, and cook for 2 minutes, until browned. Place the skillet into the oven and bake for 3 minutes.

To serve, mound equal portions of hot chive whipped potatoes in the center of each of six serving plates. Top each with one fillet, skin-side up. Surround each with truffle vinaigrette and shiitake mushrooms and if you've made them, scatter the shoestring potatoes around the plate.
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