Black Bass with Fennel Potatoes and Aioli

Quatrano uses black bass, which she loves for its flaky texture, but snapper, branzino or small cod would also work well in this dish. She simmers the fillets in a broth scented with fresh thyme, fennel and orange zest, then drizzles thick, garlicky aioli on top. Slideshow:  Grilled Seafood RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook 

Black Bass with Fennel Potatoes & Aioli
Photo: © Chris Court
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 1 large egg plus 3 large egg yolks

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 8 garlic cloves, 4 thinly sliced

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 fingerling potatoes

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 fennel bulb—trimmed, cored and thinly sliced

  • 6 thyme sprigs

  • 2 fresh bay leaves

  • Two 2-inch strips of orange zest

  • Large pinch of crushed red pepper

  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • Six 4-ounce black bass fillets

  • Croutons, for garnish (optional)

  • Crusty bread, for serving


  1. In a food processor, combine the egg, egg yolks, lemon juice and whole garlic cloves and pulse until the garlic is finely chopped. With the machine on, gradually add 3/4 cup of the olive oil until emulsified. Season the aioli with salt and black pepper and scrape into a bowl.

  2. In a small saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, cook the potatoes until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool, then slice 1/4 inch thick.

  3. In a large cast-iron casserole, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and fennel and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the thyme sprigs, bay leaves, orange zest, crushed red pepper and stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

  4. Add the fish fillets and potatoes to the casserole and simmer just until the fish is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard the bay leaves, thyme sprigs and orange zest. Transfer the fish, broth and vegetables to shallow bowls and garnish with croutons. Drizzle with the aioli and serve with crusty bread.

Make Ahead

The aioli can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Suggested Pairing

Bright, citrusy Australian Riesling.

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