Kerry Heffernan's ultimate dish: Black Sea bass

Kerry Heffernan
Chef Kerry Heffernan prepared Roasted Whole Black Sea Bass, Stuffed with Crab on "CBS This Morning: Saturday," Jan. 28, 2012.

"CBS This Morning: Saturday" reeled in quite a catch to share his favorite dish: chef Kerry Heffernan.

He's an avid saltwater fly fisherman.

And he's known for his outstanding American fare at South Gate, in Manhattan.

Kerry brought his ultimate dish to the set: Roasted Whole Black Sea Bass, Stuffed with Crab.

He had 20 years experience under his culinary belt, working at such restaurants as Montrachet, Le Regence, and Restaurant Bouley before landing his first job as chef de cuisine at One Fifth Avenue.

In 1998, Kerry became the opening executive chef, and eventually partner at Union Square Hospitality Group's Eleven Madison Park. The restaurant received accolades from a wide variety of sources, including a tie with per se on Zagat Survey's "Top 20 Most Popular Restaurants in New York," the James Beard Foundation's award for Outstanding Service in America, Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence, and esquire magazine's "Best New Restaurant."

Kerry also loves snowboarding, but fishing takes the cake for him. On weekends, he can be found doing one of his favorite things -- climbing under the docks outside his home in Sag Harbor, on Long Island, checking for oysters and clams.

Enjoy all our recipes!



  • 1 Black sea Bass, approx 4 pounds (30") Can substitute snapper or salmon of similar size)

  • 3/4 pound crabmeat freshest is best (maine, maryland or dungeness) picked clean

  • 3/4 Cup diced toasted white bread

  • 2 eggs and 1/2 C heavy cream blended together

  • 1 ea small onion diced

  • 1 ribs celery diced

  • 4 sprigs marjoram picked of stems

  • 10 sprigs parsley picked of stems and roughly chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 4 T butter

Scale bass, and trim off all fins, leaving head and tail intact, Gut and fillet from dorsal side leaving only one incision that runs nearly the length of the fish, remove entrails and rinse well,.Remove spine,pin and "chest" bones as well as any remnants of fins inside flesh taking care not to "puncture" the fish or damage the integrity of the skin as it will eventually serve to hold everything together.

Preheat oven to 475 F

In a large heavy bottomed skillet "sweat" the onion and celery in 2 of the 4 T of butter, seasoning with salt and pepper, for 5 minutes, add garlic and stir again, remove from heat, add herbs diced bread and crabmeat and 1/2 of the egg cream mixture gently work stuffing to insure that it is barely combined and well moistened, add more egg cream mixture if it seems dry but not so much as to make it too "soggy".

Dry and season inside of bass with salt and pepper.

Set bass upright with cavity exposed and gently fill with as much stuffing as would nearly recreate the size of the fish with entrails etc, (any extra can be formed and sauteed into cakes)

Using approx 20" ' lengths of butcher twine, gently tie fish around the girth approx 5 times every 2 to 3 " or so in the thickest sections to nearly re-close the incision to the original shape of the fish, tie gently as stuffing will expand

Coat exterior with remaining soft butter and season well with S+P ,roast in oven for approx 15 minutes until browned and nearly done ( use a very sharp small knife to make and incision in the thickest part,flesh should appear just opaque ) it will "carry over" and continue cooking out of the oven as it "rests"

Allow to rest 10 minutes, remove strings very carefully and slice into bone- free prestuffed disks with an electric knife

For more of Kerry's recipes, go to Page 2.