Panfried Large-Mouth Bass
One fall evening just after we had opened for dinner, four guests arrived at Konkapot Restaurant in Mill River, Massachusetts, on their way to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. In front of the restaurant a friend was hoisting three huge large-mouth bass from his automobile. The guests watched as the fisherman marched through the front door of the restaurant, through the dining room, and into the kitchen. The waitress soon inquired of me if the "really fresh" fish was one of the evening's specials; I sent the prep person out to scale and clean the fish while I sliced potatoes and onions. A platter arrived at the concertgoers' table mounded with the freshest of ingredients (including lettuce, tomatoes, and onions direct from our garden). The guests later told me they had never before enjoyed such a fresh and spontaneous meal.
- 8 tablespoons butter (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
- 1-2 whole bass (or any freshwater white fish), about 3 -4 pounds, headless
- 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
- 3 large potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 lemons, sliced
- Nasturtium flowers. for garnish (optional)
- Parsley, for, garnish
Melt the butter with the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place the fish in the middle of the pan and surround it with the sliced onions and potatoes (you can briefly parboil the potatoes). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover partially, leaving the lid slightly askew so the moisture escapes, and sauté for I5 minutes. Turn everything once and cook for another 15-30 minutes, until the fish turns white and the potatoes are cooked. Remove the cover about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking period.
Remove the backbone from the fish and reassemble it to appear whole before taking the platter to the table.
Arrange the fish, potatoes, and onions on a warmed oval platter, garnish with nasturtium flowers and parsley, and serve with lemon wedges.
To Drink: Try a Fume Blanc from a reliable Napa Valley producer such as Grgich Hills. Grgich Hills make this classic Sauvignon Blanc with intensity and lots of herbal and fruit flavors. Or Springbok's Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa is a light, fruity and delicious white wine that pairs well with fish and onions.
Wild Fish & Game Cookbook
by John Manikowski
Photography by Zeva Oelbaum
192 pages; October 1997
Reprinted by permission.
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This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.
Modified August 2007