Pan Seared Goldspot Bass with Creamy Tarragon Sauce

Serves 4

Goldspotted bass is a wonderful, inexpensive white fish that’s great for frying and sauteeing. The meat is also perfect for making a fish stock that can be frozen and used for future recipes (soups, pasta, sauces, etc.). Courtesy Chef Jenn Felmley.


  • 1 cup          Fish stock, room temperature
  • ½ cup    Dry, unoaked, white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)
  • 2 tbsp         Unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp         Flour
  • ¼ cup         Heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp    Fresh tarragon, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon of dried); plus extra leaves for garnish   

In a saucepan melt butter over medium low heat. Whisk flour into butter to form blonde roux (a paste of flour and butter that is a light blonde in color).
Slowly add stock into the roux, whisking constantly. 
Reduce heat and pour in white wine and cream, simmer to thicken slightly.
Stir in tarragon just before serving and season with salt and pepper.

*Chef’s Tip- if you are using dried tarragon, simmer it in the fish stock for 10 minutes to rehydrate and bring out the flavors. If you don’t have fresh or dried tarragon, you could use dill or lemon zest.

Pan Seared Goldspot Bass

  • 4 (6 oz)    Skin-off Goldspot Bass Fillet, pin bones removed (trimmed to even thickness)
  • As needed    Kosher salt and white pepper
  • 4 tbsp     High heat cooking oil (vegetable oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, etc.)

Preheat oven to 375° F.
Brush fish with oil. Generously season the fish with salt and pepper. 
Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium- high heat.
Add fish fillet, flesh side down to the pan. 
Cook, without moving, until brown crust forms, about 2 minutes. 
Remove fish from the pan and place onto a parchment lined sheet pan; skin side down.
Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet into the oven and cook for 8 to 10 minutes for thin pieces of fish (about 3/4-inch-thick fillet).
Remove from oven.
Ladle sauce onto the plate, place fish fillet on top, garnish with tarragon leaves and serve.

Fish Stock

Makes approximately 4 cups

  • 2 pounds Mild white fish (or fish of your choice) golden spot bass, halibut, cod, or a fish head (split)
  • 1 large Onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 ribs Celery
  • 1  Bay leaf
  • 1 sprig Flat-leaf parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • 1 sprig Thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 3 whole Peppercorns
  • 2 ½  Quarts cold water

Place bones in a large pot; add remaining ingredients and cold water. Bring almost to a boil over high heat (do not let it come to a boil). Reduce heat to low and cook at a bare simmer, skimming any foam that rises to surface, 20–30 minutes. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth (to capture any small bones) and discard solids. Stock tastes best when freshly made.

This stock can be frozen; to do so refrigerate stock over night in a storage container. Once completely cool pour 2 tablespoons of neutral oil (vegetable, grapeseed, etc.) over the top of the stock. Then cover and freeze. The oil will create a barrier that will protect against freezer burn. Store your stock for 2 to 3 months.

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