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Black Bass with Burdock and Garlic Mustard

Burdock has an earthy, nutty flavor. Substitution: Salsify, or even carrots or parsnips, makes a good substitute, and any bitter green—dandelion, red mustard or radicchio—will work fine in place of the garlic mustard. For the fish, black bass, red snapper, rockfish or any firm-fleshed white fillet can be used; it's best if the skin is left on.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 pound burdock root, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Four 6-ounce black bass fillets
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound garlic mustard greens, tough stems removed, leaves finely shredded


  1. In a medium nonreactive skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the burdock, shallot and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the burdock is golden and barely tender, about 15 minutes. Add 6 tablespoons of water, 1 at a time, and cook until nearly absorbed between additions. Add the soy sauce and remove from the heat. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Make 3 small slashes about 2 inches long and 1/8 inch deep in the skin side of the bass fillets. Season both sides with salt and cayenne.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the bass, skin side down, and cook over high heat until opaque around the edges, about 6 minutes. Gently turn the fish and cook for 1 minute on the other side.
  4. While the fish is cooking, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Swirl in 3 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the garlic mustard greens and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 1 minute.
  5. Spoon the burdock mixture onto 4 plates and top with a piece of fish, skin side up. Spoon the greens around the fish and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Pair this dish with a big, bold and rather creamy wine with nice mineral tones to match the earthiness of the burdock and counter the salt and spice of the preparation. A Sonoma County Chardonnay will work nicely.

Contributed By Published April 1997

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