The stone bass began appearing on menu items and price lists of seafood shops and restos in recent months. The new fish caught our attention.
We discussed sea bass a few months later and the advantages of Greek and Turkish-farmed fish stock. Among the things we agreed on, its size was the biggest letdown. Our flagship cut, fillet steak, was not available due to a lack of fish of sufficient size. You could get this cut from a sea bass weighing more than 3kg, but these are becoming increasingly rare and expensive.
Having heard that stone bass can be purchased larger than 7kg, we began to rethink our decision. This is a noteworthy achievement on the farmed fish front! Aside from the desire to eat a splendidly huge stone bass fillet steak, it represented an alternative to the highly regulated wild Atlantic sea bass and Salmon bass.
What is Stone Bass?
The stone bass was almost unknown before because it only referred to a rare species of fish, the wreckfish.
In Latin, the stone bass is known as Argyrosomus regius. Known also as meager, the species is rare in the wild and almost unknown in the UK. The wreckfish or Polyprion americanus, which is even rarer, may be called stone bass, possibly due to their similar appearances. Both are closely related to the more widely known and highly favoured sea bass.
There you go! Introducing the stone bass! In Britain and the USA, it’s referred to as the stone bass, but in the world market, it’s called the meager bass.
Stone Bass’ Sustainability Report
As a slower-growing, prized species, it is vulnerable to overfishing and is classified as near endangered. In port areas of Cornwall, catches are inconsistent, but there is little management and data that can indicate sustainability.
Their catch is usually made with baited hooks, handlines or longlines, and young fish are found under surface debris, so they are often caught accidentally by potters and deep sea fishing nets.
Stone Bass Cooking
Does stone bass have bold flavours? Despite being low fat, it is not particularly distinctive, although it is quite tasty. The meat comes in satisfyingly big, boneless steaks when you buy from us with a next-day delivery option. Nice white muscle flakes can be seen on it.
You can prepare it raw and serve it with a vinaigrette after marinating it overnight in juniper berries. Add a little caviar to add a touch of glitz.
Stone bass with new potatoes, tomato concasse and chives dish
Preparation time: 30 minutes or less
Cooking time: between 10 and 30 minutes
To make the potatoes and tomato concasse:
1kg new potatoes
1 handful of fresh chives, chopped fine
As for the fish:
4 x 150g stone bass fillets, skin-on
Freshly ground black pepper and salt
A splash of white wine drink
1 lemon, freshly squeezed juice
A handful of small leeks sliced thinly
2 bundles of asparagus, with woody, ends cut off
2 shallots, sliced into rings after peeling
1 bunch of fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped
To prepare the potato and tomato concasse, make a small cross on the bottom of each tomato, then blanch briefly, drain, and sink into ice-cold water. Tomatoes should be peeled and their skins discarded.
Peeled tomatoes should be cut into quarters and the seeds removed. After drying the tomato pieces thoroughly, dice them into small pieces.
Using a sharp knife, cut the new potatoes into barrel-shaped pieces. In a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the potatoes for 15 minutes, or until fork-tender. Add a dollop of butter along with pinches of pepper and salt. Add the tomato slices along with the chives before serving.
Prepare the oven for the stone bass fillets by preheating it to 200C.
Wrap the fillets in two layers of foil, shiny side up, and lay them flat on a countertop. Using parchment paper slightly smaller than the foil, top with a fish fillet, and secure the parchment by folding over the foil edges. Make four parcels in total.
Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to the fish. Pour in some wine, squeeze in a little lemon, and top with a little butter. Add a few asparagus spears and a few baby leeks to the fish. Sprinkle the tarragon and shallot rings over the top.
Seal each package by folding it up and sealing it on top, making sure there are spaces for steam to escape. Foil packages should be placed on a flame-resistant baking tray, and the tray should be heated at medium temperature for about two minutes. Cook the fish for 6-8 minutes in the oven after removing the tray from the stove.
Upon serving, carefully remove the packets from the fish and vegetables and place them on a serving plate. If any juices remain in the packet, drizzle them over the new potatoes and tomato concasse.