The Mountain Chef: A local delicacy: Striped bass |

The Mountain Chef: A local delicacy: Striped bass


Colorado has so many wonderful local specialties, did you know that one of them is farm-raised striped bass? It came as a surprise to me to find out they have been raised here since 1992! This hybrid striped bass is sustainably farm-raised by Colorado Catch, a family operated aquaculture farm in Alamosa. Fresh, crisp San Luis Valley water is flushed through the above ground geothermal tanks constantly to ensure tasty, fresh fish. The continuous filtration and cleanliness leads to an exceptionally delicious sustainable product. A great practice is that the fish are swimming until the order is placed to guarantee fresh caught fish of the highest quality.

And what an amazing product. It is deliciously mild with a firm yet flaky consistency. The bass has great health benefits as it is low in fat, calories and cholesterol, but is high in lean protein.

So how do we cook it? Any way you’d like, as it is extremely versatile to fit most recipes. This famous little fish has been showcased by many local restaurants and chefs. And has even traveled to New Orleans for the Great American Seafood Cook-off where the chef took top honors.

So keep your eyes peeled for some of our favorite local sustainably farm raised friends in your fish mongers seafood display. Try out these fantastic, easy, economical recipes with the bass or be creative and try other variations. Bon Appetit!!!

2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds

2 Tablespoons black sesame seeds

pinch of cornstarch

1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

salt to taste

pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoons nutmeg

4 striped bass filets

oil to saute

Preheat oven to 200F.

Mix together all ingredients except for oil and bass.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat and add enough oil to coat bottom of hot pan.

Press flesh side of bass firmly onto sesame mixture to “crust.”

Sear bass crust side down until golden brown then flip and cook skin side until golden brown. Transfer to warm oven while you make the sauce.

Orange/Ginger Glaze:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 T sesame oil

1 T honey

1 orange, juiced and zest

1/2 T fresh ginger, minced

Pepper to taste

2 tsp. cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat to thicken, drizzle over bass.

4 striped bass filets

Flour for dredging

Salt and pepper to taste

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup white wine

1-1/2 cups vegetable stock

3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 Tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 200 F.

Preheat large saute pan over high heat, season bass with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, gently shaking off excess.

Add 2 Tablespoons oil to pan and heat until just before smoking, gently place bass in pan flesh side down and brown well on first side. Flip and cook skin side until golden brown then transfer to baking dish and place in the oven to keep warm.

Meanwhile, add 1 Tablespoon oil to the same pan and return to medium-high heat, stir in garlic, shallots and lemon zest and cook 30 seconds.

Stir in white wine, stock and lemon juice. Reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Add basil and season with salt and pepper.

For the Salsa and Guacamole:

2 large tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 jalapeno, diced

1 teaspoon oil

dash of vinegar

1 lime, juiced (plus 1 Tablespoon if needed)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 avocados, diced

salt and pepper to taste

For the Tacos:

1 pound striped bass, skinned, diced

Flour for dredging

3 Tablespoons oil

1/2 onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoon chili powder

cayenne pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon tomato paste


corn tortillas

Greek yogurt (as a substitute for sour cream)

White cheddar cheese, grated

Green cabbage, shredded

To make the salsa add all the ingredients but the avocados to a bowl and mix well. Take about a half cup of the salsa and puree in a food processor or blender then add back to the salsa to give it some liquid body.

To make the guacamole add the avocado to a bowl then add about 1/2 cup salsa and mix well, season with salt, pepper and lime juice if needed.

To make the taco filling, preheat a saute pan over med-high heat, dredge bass in flour and shake off excess, add the 2 T oil to pan then the bass and brown well. Add 1 T oil then the onion and garlic and saute briefly. Add the chili powder, cayenne, cumin, tomato paste and enough water to moisten. Simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile warm your tortillas (over an open flame preferably)

To build a taco, in a tortilla place fish, cheese, salsa, guacamole, yogurt and shredded cabbage.

Ian T Buchanan is the chef/owner of Open To The World Private Chef Services and lead instructor at CMC Breckenridge’s Center For Lifelong Learning Culinary Program. Please view his website at or contact him at (440) 376-0096.

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