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Grilled Bass With Tomato Tart

bass recipes

This summer has been a pretty tough one here in Southern California as the albacore never really showed up; however, I am confident of a good fall season. With that in mind, you can always create delicious seafood dishes with fresh sea bass or striped bass.

I loved the summertime when I lived back in Boston during the 1980s. There was nothing like running into a frenzy of bluefish or striped bass decimating a school of bunker. Chasing bass came to mind as we prepared this lunch entrée for a fashion show recently at the hotel, and it received very good reviews from the ladies.

This recipe calls for a tomato tart with cheese, which is great alone or with a salad, but add the grilled striper and it is a wonderful hot-and-cool entrée on a warm summer day for either lunch or dinner.


Serves 10

  • 10 6- to 7-ounce striped bass portions (you can substitute with white seabass or other flaky white fish)
  • 1 Piece of 16” x 11” puff pastry sheet
  • 8 Large, ripe tomatoes, any color
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Wheel garlic-herb Boursin cheese, soft
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh young lettuces
  • Basil vinaigrette


You are going to want to start by making the tart. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and drop the tomatoes in the hot water for 30 seconds. Have a large bowl of iced water ready as you will need to pull the tomatoes out and dump them in the ice water to help you remove the skins. Slice tomatoes into six nice slices and lay out on a sheet pan. Drizzle some olive oil, salt and fresh pepper on the tomatoes and bake in a 400-degree preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes until they become roasted and soft. Let the tomatoes sit on the side to cool. Once cool, you will want to pour off all excess liquids.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the puff pastry on a sprayed pan. Cover the pastry with another similar-sized pan and bake it for 10 to 15 minutes in the oven. Remove the top sheet pan and check that the pastry is halfway cooked and browned. If it looks good, go ahead and remove it. If not, bake it another 8 to 10 minutes but keep an eye on it. You don’t want to cook it all the way.

Remove the top pan from the pastry and let it cool to room temp. Once cooled down, spread half of the Boursin Cheese on the pastry dough. Then line up the roasted tomato slices over the dough to cover all of the dough. Crumble the rest of the cheese as evenly as possible over the tomatoes. Do the same with the chopped basil. Keep your oven at 350 to bake the tart one last time for 15 minutes while the fish is getting grilled.

To plan out the dish, you should first do the puff pastry, then roast the tomatoes and then season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat your grill on medium or however hot you like it to grill fish. Grill the bass but make sure to avoid burning it. Remove the fish when the internal temperature is 145 degrees (use a digital thermometer if you have one).

Have 10 plates already to go on the counter top with your salad greens pre arranged. Remove the tart from the oven and cut it half lengthwise and then each half into five even slices to give you 10 portions total. Place the tart on the plate with your greens along with the bass and drizzle with some vinaigrette. To jazz up your vinaigrette, take 12 ounces of premade vinaigrette and place it in a blender with half a cup of chopped fresh basil. Blend on high until the basil is pureed and the dressing is bright green. Your guests will be very impressed!


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Chef Steve Black attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1986. His hotel career began at the Sheraton Boston Hotel & Towers in 1984, where he developed his culinary skills working in the five restaurants and catering the private banquets. In 1990, Chef Black traveled abroad to Strasbourg, France, where he had the opportunity to work with several 5-Star Michelin Chefs. Returning to the U.S. in 1992, Chef Black moved to San Diego and joined the culinary teams at the La Costa Resort & Spa and at the Hyatt La Jolla Aventine. In 1993 he became the Executive Chef at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina on Harbor Island. During his culinary career, Chef Black has been recognized as one of the leading chefs in San Diego. In 2002, he received the Gold Medallion Award as Chef of the Year from the California Restaurant Association. At the 2008 Gold Key Awards, he was nominated for the Food & Beverage Person of the Year by the San Diego Hotel & Motel Association. He has been awarded with “Best Recipe” from Maple Leaf Duck Farms and Contessa Shrimp. For more than 17 years, Chef Black has catered the annual events for The Old Globe Gala, the RITZ, Jewel Ball and Patrons of The Prado. He has participated in major fundraisers for Meals on Wheels, Mama's Kitchen and the Shiley Eye Institute. During the 2007 devastating fires, he personally drove donated food from the Sheraton Hotel to the Valley Center High School to feed the many people that were displaced from their homes. Chef Black has had the opportunity to cater to celebrities such as Richard Dreyfuss, Hal Holbrook & Dixie Carter, John Kerry, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bob Dole and Mayor Jerry Sanders. In 2000, he had the privilege of meeting Julia Child as she was honored at the UCSD Cancer Center event. He's also an avid angler and you'll find him fishing the local islands as well as Mexico waters.