Roasted Black Bass with Mussels Panzanella

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In this recipe, Roasted Black Bass is served along with Mussels Panzanella, a delicious Tuscan bread salad.  The salad gets an unexpected ingredient- mussels. Leave the salad for half an hour at room temperature to really absorb all the juices, the robust extra-virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar and the wine reduced sauce from the mussels. Scatter some basil on top of the salad and serve it with the fish.

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To clean the musselsThe best is to cook mussels on the same day of purchase, open the bag and let them breath in the fridge. Discard any mussels that are chipped, broken or open. When ready to cook, soak the mussels in cold water for 20 minutes, they will breathe and expel all the sand and salt. Scrub the mussels well with a brush under cold running water. Remove the mussels’ so-called “beard” with your fingers by pulling it toward the hinge end of the shell. Place each cleaned mussel in a new bowl of fresh cold water.

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Make the Mussels Panzanella: Heat a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add mussels, wine, peppercorns, and basil stems. Bring to a vigorous simmer. Cover, and cook for four to five minutes.

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With a slotted spoon, transfer mussels to a bowl as they open. Discard any unopened mussels. Let cool.

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Remove from shells.

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Continue to cook broth until reduced by half. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve; discard solids. You will have about 3/4 cup broth.

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Combine mussels, broth, bread, basil, olive oil, tomatoes, vinegar, zest, and red-pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, make the Black Bass: Cut three slashes in skins of each fillet, it prevents the fillets from curling on the hot pan. Season the fillets with salt and pepper.

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Heat a large skillet over high heat for one minute. Add one tablespoon vegetable oil and two fillets, skin sides down. Cook until flesh is browned and opaque around edges, about three minutes. Flip, and cook for one minute more. Add one tablespoon butter, and heat until melted and foamy. Spoon over fish continuously for 30 seconds. Repeat with remaining oil, fish, and butter.

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Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Roasted Black Bass with Mussels Panzanella

recipe details

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the Mussels Panzanella

  • 2 pounds small mussels, preferably Prince Edward Island, scrubbed well and debearded
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 ½ cups fresh basil, any combination of regular, purple, or Thai, stems reserved, plus more for serving
  • 6 slices rustic Italian bread (½ inch thick)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
  • 2 pounds mixed tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Black Bass

  • 4 skin-on black bass fillets (5 ounces each)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

  1. To clean the Mussels  The best is to cook mussels on the same day of purchase, open the bag and let them breath in the fridge. Discard any mussels that are chipped, broken or open. When ready to cook, soak the mussels in cold water for 20 minutes, they will breathe and expel all the sand and salt. Scrub the mussels well with a brush under cold running water. Remove the mussels’ so-called “beard” with your fingers by pulling it toward the hinge end of the shell. Place each cleaned mussel in a new bowl of fresh cold water.

  2. Make the Mussels Panzanella Heat a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add mussels, wine, peppercorns, and basil stems. Bring to a vigorous simmer. Cover, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer mussels to a bowl as they open. Discard any unopened mussels. Let cool. Remove from shells. Continue to cook broth until reduced by half. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve; discard solids. You will have about 3/4 cup broth.

  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush bread with olive oil, and toast on a baking sheet until golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Tear into 3/4-inch chunks.

  4. Combine mussels, broth, bread, basil, olive oil, tomatoes, vinegar, zest, and red-pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 30 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, make the Black Bass Cut 3 slashes in skins of each fillet, it prevents the fillets from curling on the hot pan. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 fillets, skin sides down. Cook until flesh is browned and opaque around edges, about 3 minutes. Flip, and cook for 1 minute more. Add 1 tablespoon butter, and heat until melted and foamy. Spoon over fish continuously for 30 seconds. Repeat with remaining oil, fish, and butter. Serve over mussels Panzanella. Garnish with basil, and drizzle with olive oil.

    Wine Pairing Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris, Alsace, France 2011

    This recipe is credit of Martha Stewart with my tips on how to clean the mussels.

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