Roasted Whole Black Bass

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 2 to 4 servings
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One 2 1/2 to 3-pound whole black bass, gutted and scaled

1 bunch fresh parsley

1 bunch fresh tarragon

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 small head fennel, thinly sliced, fronds reserved

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup capers, chopped

2 lemons, thinly sliced

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 1/2 cups dry white wine 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pats

Herbed Israeli Couscous, for serving, recipe follows

Herbed Israeli Couscous:

Kosher salt

1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup currants

1/4 cup fresh chopped herbs, such as tarragon, parsley, chives, etc.

1 lemon, zested and juiced 

Freshly cracked black pepper

Olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse the fish and dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Score each side of the fish 3 to 4 times on a bias, about 1/2-inch deep. Combine the parsley, tarragon and thyme into 1 large bunch with the stems attached, and separate out one-third of the bunch. Finely chop the separated, smaller bunch. Mix with one-quarter of the fennel slices, one-third of the fronds, garlic and capers and 2 of the lemon slices, making a sort of herby citrus marinade. Mix the chopped herb mixture with the olive oil and rub the mixture inside and outside of the fish as well as inside the slits. This will allow the herby citrus flavors to permeate through the fish. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place half of the remaining herbs, fennel, lemon slices, garlic and capers in a bed on the bottom of a roasting pan and the other half inside the cavity of the fish. Place the fish in a roasting pan. Evenly distribute the wine and butter pats in the pan, and place in the oven. The wine will help keep your fish moist and help steam it, as well as making a great sauce with the butter. Roast until the fish has cooked through, or until the skin is crispy and the fish is flaky, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the fish to a serving platter with a bed of the Israeli Couscous (be careful, the fish is tender and can break). Pour the sauce from the pan over the fish and fillet to serve.

Herbed Israeli Couscous:

  1. Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous, cover and remove from the heat. Allow the couscous to sit until the water is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the currants, fresh herbs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and stir in a small glug of olive oil before serving. Yield: 6 servings.