Crispy Black Sea Bass with Ramp Puree

It’s ramp season out there and whether you’re an intrepid forager or a regular at the farmer’s market, you can snag a bunch of these wild leeks to give dinner a burst of spring flavor. In this recipe by chef Tim Willis, sea bass fillets are seasoned and lightly fried, building a crispy complement to the bold garlic and onion overtones of pureed ramp. This dish can be served with a variety of sautéed seasonal veggies – like fiddleheads or asparagus or spring peas – to really up the ante.


Servings: 4


For the ramps
  • 12 ramps
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the fish
  • 4 fillets black sea bass (4-6 ounces)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, for frying


  1. Cut the ramps across in half, then cut off and discard the roots. Cut half of the green part of the ramp into thin diagonal slices for garnish. Set aside both the sliced and unsliced green parts of the ramps.
  2. Place the white parts of the ramps in a small saucepan with three tablespoons of water. Simmer very slowly until tender. Add the unsliced green pats and cook for one minute more.
  3. Remove ramps from the heat and puree in a blender. Pass through a coarse strainer into a clean small saucepan. Rewarm gently as the fish is cooking; stir in the remaining butter. Keep warm.
  4. Score the skin of each fillet about 3/4 inches apart, cutting into the meat as little as possible. Carefully dip the skin side of the fillet in the milk, then in the seasoned flour. Continue with the remaining fillets. Do not get any flour on the flesh of the fish.
  5. Heat the sauté pan with the oil to medium heat. Put the fillets in the pan skin side down. Cover the pan loosely with a lid. The fish should be sizzling. While the skin side is crisping the other side is steaming. Cook for five to seven minutes.
To serve
  1. Spread the ramp puree on each plate and place the fish skin side up, on the puree. Serve with sautéed spring vegetables on the side.

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