STRIPED BASS olive potato hash, meyer lemon, pistachio salsa verde
Striped Bass…need i say more?!
If stripers are out of season or unavailable, this recipe will work well with many stronger flavored fish. I particularly like it with lake trout or steelhead / rainbow trout. The most important thing is that the fish you choose be as fresh as possible. If the fish is supremely fresh you can almost never go wrong. Ask your local fishmonger to steer you in the right direction. I like Mike.
4 6 oz. fillets Striped Bass, preferrably skin on
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 c pistachio salsa verde (recipe follows)
1 c olive tapendade (recipe follows)
6 medium red skin potatoes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
½ tsp black peppercorns
Pistachio Salsa Verde
1½ c lightly packed italian parsley leaves
¼ c fresh oregano leaves
1.5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp salt packed capers (rinsed, soaked, drained and patted dry), chopped
zest of two meyer lemons
juice of 2 meyer lemons
1 lg pinch red pepper flakes
½ c roasted pistachio meats, chopped
½ c plus olive oil
¾ c pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1½ tbsp chopped salt packed capers, rinsed, soaked and dried
zest of 1 meyer lemon
juice of 1/2 meyer lemon
1½ tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
small pinch red pepper flakes
⅓ c extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
For the olive tapenade
Add all ingredients except the olive oil to a food processor. Pulse several times to incorporate. With the processor running gradually add in the olive oil.
Transfer contents from the processor to an appropriate sized container and reserve at room temperture until ready for use. Left over tapenade can be stored in the refridgerator for up to a week.
For the pistachio salsa verde
Finely chop the italian parsley and oregano. Add the herbs to a mixing bowl with the chopped capers, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Using a food processor pulse the pistachios until they are broken up but not completely turned to dust. Alternatively you can smash / chop with a chef’s knife. Add the pistachios to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients and stir in the olive oil until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is sauce like. If too thick add more oil. Salt to taste and adjust the acidity to your liking with a few dashes of red wine vinegar if necessary.
Reserve at room temperture until ready for use. Left over salsa verde can be stored in the refridgerator for up to a week.
For the olive potato hash
Put the potatoes in a large sauce pan cover with cold water and salt to taste. The water should be slightly less salty than sea water. Add a couple bay leaves, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a couple springs of thyme and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to just over a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender enough to be pierced with a fork.
Drain the potatoes into a colander. Let the potatoes cool just enough to handle, but not to room temperature. Grab two clean kitchen towels and lay one towel on the counter and set a potato on top. Lay the other towel over the potato and slowly but firmly press down on the potato with the heel/palm of your hand. Gently smashing the potato, but leaving it intact as much as possible. The flattened potato should be just under an inch tall. Transfer the potato and any bits that might have fallen off to a plate. Repeat with the other potatoes.
Brush the potatoes very generously with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat until its hot enough that a drop of water sizzles in the pan and quickly evaporates.
Using a spatula add the potatoes to the pan, flipping them so that the oiled side hits the pan first. Using a rubber spatula add the remaining oil to the pan. Grab the tapenade and begin spooning it over the top of the potatoes, spreading it so that the whole surface is cover with a generous layer of olive mixture. Let potatoes cook untouched in the pan for 7 minutes. Do not touch. Do not move. Your patience will ensure a nice browned crust on the bottom.
After the 5 minutes is up use the spatula to flip the potatoes and any broken off bits so that the olive side is down. Allow to cook for another 5-6 minutes. Do not touch. Do not move. Again we want to get some browning and crisp on the olive mixture.
After five minutes of browning begin breaking up the potatoes into small fork sized bits with the edge of the spatula (they should naturally come apart pretty easily) and give the contents of the pan a couple tosses and gently stir and flip the bits so that you have a nice mixture of browned potato and browned olive sides of the potato showing. In other words it should look like a hash. Allow to cook for another minute and give the potatoes another stir/ couple flips.
For the striped bass
Season the fillets on both sides generously with kosher salt.
While the potatoes are browning. Begin heating a large, oven safe sautee or cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan. Just as the oil begins to smoke carefully add the bass fillets flesh side down. Be careful no to crowd the fillets. Allow the fillets to brown for 4 minutes. Do not touch. Do not move.
After 4 minutes use a fish/fine edged spatula to flip the fillets so the skin side is in the pan. The fillets should release easily from the pan. If not, carfeully chisel the flesh loose with the spatula, trying not damage the fillets.
Once flipped add the fillets and pan to the oven. Roast for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set upon the stove to rest, while the potatoes finish cooking.
To finish the dish
Using the spatula distribute the hash equally to the center of each dinner. Place a striped bass fillet atop each mound of potato hash. Spoon 3 or 4 tablespoons of pistachio salsa verde over each fillet. Serve immediately. Enjoy with your wine!