Grilled Sea Bass

Bass, whole (or sardine, mackerel, or flounder)
Citrus Vinaigrette
Salt & pepper to taste

For the salad:
Seasonal greens (The salad greens and vegetables should be whatever is seasonal and in the markets.  Choose ingredients you like and maybe one new ingredient for fun.)
Raw vegetables
Small potatoes
Green Beans


1. Fillet the fish, but leave the skin on. (The skill will peel off after the fish is cooked.)
2. Coat the fillets in this vinaigrette and allow to sit for half an hour.
3. Fire your grill a half an hour before you would like to eat.  Burn the wood down to a nice bed of hot coals.  Grill the fish on the skin side for five to 10 minutes, until it looks opaque.
4. Roll the filet over and peel off the skin, then transfer to the salad greens.

To make the salad: 
1. Wash the greens and raw vegetables, and boil potatoes or beans if you’re using them.  Plate the salad while the fish is on the grill.  Drizzle with citrus vinaigrette.  

Recipe courtesy of Jason Bond, Bondir, 2010.

Heather Atwood of "Food For Thought," the food columnist for the Gloucester Times visited with Jason Bond just prior to opening his new restaurant Bondir. He showed her how he roasts a fresh sea bass in an open fire in his firplace at the location for the restaurant. The bass is seasoned before and after with a citrus vinaigrette with fresh hops and served over a bed of fresh, local greens, potatoes and poached egg.

I'm with Jason Bond of the restaurant Bondir in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hi, Jason.


And I know you're going to cook by this beautiful fire today, right?

Yeah, aren't we lucky? It's nice.

So what are you going to make?

Today we're making a grilled bass. We'll serve it over a Provencal salad of dandelion greens with a soft-cooked egg yolk, so the richness helps cut the bitter greens. Some last of the season tomatoes, some fresh dug potatoes, some little onions.

And then to match the Provencal style dish, we're going to make a citrus vinaigrette. And we spice it up a little bit by adding fresh hops. So you get a little bitter citrus aroma into it.

That's this?



I have relationships with different farmers and with different fisherman. These guys, the fisherman catches in the morning, drives them to Boston. So I get the fish that are hours out of the ocean.

The first step is filet the bass. What you want to do is you can feel where the filet stops behind the head. So I'll make one cut right behind the head, and then I'll make one just straight cut at the tail because the meat's going to thin here anyway.

So a very sharp knife is the most important thing. I try and start where the skin meets the fins here. That's the softest skin on the back, so that's the easiest place to get into. So just the tip of your knife right along, and you can hear those bones.

I do.

That's good. It means that you're not wasting any flesh. So just use the tip of your knife, and make sure you can keep hearing the bones.

OK, so one side's done.

Yeah. And again, we didn't take the scales off. We're not going to trim it perfectly because we're not going to eat the skin in this preparation. So we'll peel the skin off when it's done so that we can throw our scales away.

This is a citrus vinaigrette we made with lemon and lime and fresh hops. You drizzle a little of the vinaigrette over them before we cook them and we'll add a little bit more afterward, too. But this just gets the flavor into it while it cooks.

We'll use the fireplace just like a broiler. And to cook the fish, I got the metal pan hot. A little bit of our vinaigrette.

The citrus hops vinaigrette.

Just to flavor the fish and also so it doesn't stick.

So there's a little bit on top of this already.

Yeah, so we've marinated our fillets.

And that perfect little onion.

A little wild onion. And we'll just boil that, just like in your oven broiler at home.

Looks like you're going to get a little ash on there. Is that OK?

That's OK. It'll actually brush right off. So these look pretty close. They've been on maybe five or eight minutes. And it looks nice and white, so that means it's starting to cook. It's still kind of gray around a couple of the edges, so I bet it has another two or three minutes left.

I'll just turn it a little bit. I think it's getting really close. So right about 10 minutes probably is how long it'll take to cook.

So while this is finishing, we can plate our salad. So we'll take some bitter dandelion greens. We can still get a few tomatoes left in the garden. Along with the greens, we take some fresh dug potatoes.

That you've already steamed, right?

Yeah, we've boiled these.

Those are beautiful. What are these little onions?

Some little red onions. Again, I just blanched them along with the potatoes in the same pot. Fresh baby carrot.

That's a carrot?

Yeah. They get really sweet this time of year. Different herbs just to give some different character to the salad. This one's called chocolate mint. With the bitter greens, a farm egg is usually really nice. Different little herbs just to give different character.

What is that? It looks like clover.

Well, this is called wood sorrel. It has a lemony taste. And so, as you eat, you get just little pops of that lemon flavor. I'll dress the salad with that same citrus vinaigrette.

So let's check the fish.

OK. I think it looks really done.

Look at this beautiful salad.

I think we're just right, yeah. So our salad's put together. The last thing, we'll finish with the warm fish. So because we cooked it with the skin on--

Slides right off?

I want to take the skin off, because that'll take the scales with it.

So this should peel right back? Oh, look at that. It's doing everything you said.

So we didn't have to mess with the scales at all.


Here's our little charred onion.

[? There's ?] that beautiful onion. This is just gorgeous. Jason, I'm dying to try this.

Let me know what you think.

May I take a bite? OK, that hops vinaigrette is just calling for me, I know. And we have to crack open this little egg. That is so pretty.

A little bite with ash, because I want to know taste the fire in it. It's just perfectly cooked. I don't taste the fire so much, but it's just perfectly tender. The fish is wonderful and the vinaigrette is so good with it.

Thank you.

Well, thank you so much for building the fire and cooking the food, Jason.

It's my pleasure.

It's really nice.

Thanks for coming.

Grilled Roasted Bass
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