Pan Seared Sea Bass with Carrot Top Pesto
Pan Seared Sea Bass with Carrot Top Pesto is a great no-waste dish that uses all parts of a favorite vegetable. When cooking at home, most of us don’t give a second thought to throwing out bones or peels that won’t be eaten in a dish. In fact, my local area just started a composting program, and through that, it opened my eyes to how much food I actually throw out. So when I was making this dish, I was thinking to myself, “Don’t throw away those carrot tops.” In fact, don’t throw away a lot of food scraps. Besides, you’ve paid for them. You get multiple ingredients from one food product and less waste as well.
For this recipe, be sure to purchase carrots that still have the leafy greens attached. You’ll want about 1 packed cup of the greens for the pesto. In addition to serving with carrots, I like to present the fish on a bed of mashed potatoes.
For the roasted carrots:
- About 454 grams (1 pound) tri-color carrots, trimmed (greens reserved), peeled and cut into chunks
- Spicy Calabrian pesto olive oil, as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
For the carrot top pesto:
- 237 ml (1 packed cup) carrot top leaves
- 237 ml (1 packed cup) basil leaves
- 34 grams (1/3 cup) toasted walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Large grind black pepper
- Pinch of salt
- Tuscan herb olive oil, as needed
For the fish:
- About 454 grams (1 pound) boneless sea bass fillet, with skin
- Salt, as needed
- Olive oil, as needed
- For the roasted carrots: Preheat an oven to 230°C (450°F). In a mixing bowl toss the carrots with a generous amount of the olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast until browned and tender, about 30 minutes. When the carrots are ready, remove from the oven and keep warm; reduce the oven temperature to 204°C (400°F).
2. For the carrot top pesto: In a blender or food processor, combine the carrot leaves, basil leaves, walnuts, garlic, pepper, and salt. Process until finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in enough of the herbed oil to reach the desired consistency; the mixture should be thick but still somewhat fluid.
3. For the fish: Lightly season the fish with salt. Place a large cast-iron skillet or other oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add just enough oil to skim the bottom. When the oil is shimmering, place the fish skin-side down in the pan. Allow to sit until the bottom is crisp, about 8 minutes. Flip the fish and transfer the pan to the oven to cook until opaque but not dry, 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
4. To serve, place the fish on a platter or individual serving plates. Add a serving of roasted carrots, and top the fish with a portion of pesto.