Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods

Bass Veronique Recipe

bass veronique with wild rice

Bass Veronique is a great recipe inspired by the chef who got me started, Joseph Insalago. I met Joseph at a restaurant in Marina del Rey, California in 1975. Joseph would buy fresh Pacific Red Snapper from local merchants and work magic with it.

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Be a Little Adventurous

If you are just a little adventurous and want to try a dish that is truly to die for, this one will do the trick. Every time I make it, I raise a toast to Joseph. Although I’ve tried other types of fish, small mouth bass seems to have the character to stand up to this dish. The bass is shown served with Shitake Mushroom Wild Rice.

If you’re not sure how to fillet smallmouth bass, view my step-by-step instructions.


  • 2 smallmouth bass fillets (from a 12″-14″ fish)
  • Approx 2-3 oz of a 50/50 mixture of dry vermouth and brandy
  • Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 20-30 red grapes (seedless)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • Flour
  • Bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons of clarified butter

Directions for Bass Veronique

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Dip fillets in beaten egg and then coat lightly with mixture of flour and breadcrumbs. A 60-40 mixture of flour to breadcrumbs works quite well.

Pre-heat a heavy aluminum pan (or cast-iron skillet) on medium-high setting. A good test of when the pan is the right temp is to drip a small drop or two of water into the pan. The drops should dance around but not immediately evaporate.

When the pan is hot, add the clarified butter (You can also add a bit of olive oil to the butter at this point. It helps keep the butter from burning.) Now add the fillets rib side down first. They will brown quickly. Turn them over and immediately add the brandy/vermouth mixture. Ignite this and prepare yourself, and your smoke detector, for a large flame.

Note – If you are not quite ready for the flaming part of this, you can skip igniting the alcohol, as it will evaporate eventually, anyway. It’s the flavors left behind that give the dish such an exquisite flavor.

veronique in cast iron pan

Incredible Results

As the flame dies, squeeze the fresh lemon over the mixture, add the grapes and place the pan in the hot oven for about 5-8 minutes. The grapes will turn light pink in color and be firm but no longer crisp. You can also add another tablespoon or so of butter to make some additional sauce…

Serve with the pan drippings, and grapes. Try some fresh asparagus and wild rice as accompaniments. Have a glass of Chardonnay and, as Julia says: “Bon Appetite!”


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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl