RECIPE: Pan-Seared Tautog with Salsa Verde and Roasted Fingerlings 

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Read “Locals Are Fans of This Fall Fish” to find out why tautog is a favorite among local fishermen and chefs.

Tautog is a beautiful white fish seasonally available around Martha’s Vineyard starting in September and continuing through October, possibly into November. Get out of your fish rut by trying a few new sustainable species. In this recipe, provided by Vanessa Seder, tautog is paired with roasted potatoes and a wonderful herb sauce. Bonus: This sauce goes nicely with other pan-seared fish varieties. Seder is the author of Eat Cool and Secret Sauces. Serves 4

Ingredients

For the roasted fingerling potatoes:

1 pound fingerling potatoes

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

4 sprigs fresh thyme

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt 

Freshly ground black pepper

For the salsa verde:

2 medium cloves garlic

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil

Freshly ground black pepper

For the tautog:

4  tautog fillets

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions

For the fingerling potatoes:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Halve the potatoes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add the sprigs of rosemary, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Spread out on the baking sheet and place in the oven. 

Roast the potatoes, tossing once or twice during cooking, until the potatoes are cooked through and golden brown in parts, about 45 minutes. 

For the salsa verde: 

Meanwhile, place the garlic cloves on a cutting board. Using the side of a chef’s knife, press to crush the garlic. Add the salt to the garlic and continue to chop and press with the side of the knife until a paste forms. 

Transfer the salted garlic to a bowl along with the orange zest, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Stir in the parsley and basil, and season to taste with pepper. Set aside.

For the tautog:

Remove the fish from the refrigerator and transfer plate lined with paper towel. Let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature. Before frying, make sure the surface of the fish is very dry, using paper towels to wipe up any additional moisture. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper.

Heat a large 12-inch cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until it shimmers.

Carefully add the tautog fish to the skillet, presentation side down. Lightly press down on the fish to create a nice sear, do not move the fish. Cook until golden brown on the surface, 4 to 5 minutes. Use a fish spatula to carefully flip the fish and continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes until just opaque.

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