38 ratings

Whole Roasted Black Sea Bass with Winter Vegetables

Hearts of Winter Vegetables
Yasmin Fahr

Hearts of Winter Vegetables

A stunning dish created by Chef Kerry Heffernan of New York's South Gate Restaurant exclusively for The Daily Meal. Tender, flavorful fish topped with a creamy and citrusy butter is a decadent meal to prepare for a special occasion, especially when served alongside vibrant winter vegetables. 


  • 1 whole black sea bass, 2-3 pounds, scales removed and cleaned (ask your fishmonger)
  • 2 small blood oranges, 5-6 peels of zest only (no white pith), julienned finely
  • 4 sprigs tarragon, leaves removed and chopped, stems reserved 
  • 4 ounces plus 2 tablespoons best quality unsalted butter, (softened)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 leek, cleaned well
  • 1 head endive
  • 1 head fennel
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 ounces micro greens


Heat oven to 450 degrees (convection, if possible). Rinse and dry fish thoroughly.

Blanch the orange zest twice, in 2 changes of boiling water (½ cup is plenty each time), until tender. Set aside.

Segment the orange flesh without membrane or seeds and reserve the flesh and any accumulated juice. Squeeze the remaining orange membranes for juice and combine all the juice together into a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer gently until reduced to a syrup.

Combine the tarragon leaves with the orange syrup and 4 ounces of softened butter. Season with salt and pepper and shape into a short log using plastic wrap to hold the shape. Wrap and chill.

Place tarragon stems inside fish cavity and coat the outside of fish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. And season well inside and out with salt and pepper.

Place fish in a small roasting pan in an upright position and place into the hot oven. (Make first doneness check after 18 minutes.) Check fish for doneness by inserting a butter knife towards spine near head. The fish should just begin to come away from bone, but remember that fish will continue to cook about 10 % after you remove them from the oven.

Meanwhile, trim excess tops from all the vegetables, and cut in half lengthwise to expose "heart," but leaves or layers should remain connected or intact).

Continue to cut into quarters, or smaller if desired, the endive and the fennel, again keeping the core in place so that they remain intact.

Heat a large sauté pan until over medium heat, until hot and add 1 tablespoon of oil and add several pieces of the vegetables, cut side down, leaving at least ¾-1 inch of room around them to allow the steam to escape, then season well with salt and pepper. Increase the heat slightly so that they brown evenly, turning when browned to evenly caramelize all sides. Remove and reserve, keeping them warm as you continue to cook and color all the remaining vegetables.

Arrange fish on a serving platter and arrange the vegetables, reserved orange zest, and segments around attractively or serve vegetables on a separate plate (as pictured). Use micro greens to garnish fish and slice the chilled orange/tarragon butter over the top of the hot fish to serve.