Bodacious Beans and Bass

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 
Six servings

This dish was actually created as an entry for the Association for Healthcare Foodservice’s Culinary Competition in Orlando last month. But Food and Nutrition Director Joanne McMillian and Executive Chef Aatul Jain have found success with this dish, not only as the gold-medal winner in the competition, but as a popular item on the catering menu and at special events. Despite its upscale appearance, the dish comes in at only $5.68 per portion.

“We initially got inspiration for our dish from a ‘citrus’ salmon that is on our room service menu,” Jain explains. “The salmon is marinated, grill marked and then finished to order. We plan to use the citrus seafood concept in our retail and catering offering more now than in the past due to its newfound popularity. Using citrus with zest and fresh herbs also helps keep nutritionals in check since we use less oil and salt.”


2 tbsp. grated orange zest
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
2 tbsp. fresh chopped lemon thyme
2/3 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon-flavored olive oil
6 3-oz. pieces boneless, skinless black sea bass
2 tbsp. olive oil (to sear fish)

Vegetarian Refried Bean & Farro Cakes
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 oz. diced white onion
3/4 oz. fresh chopped garlic
3 oz. dry pearled farro
10 oz. water
1 tsp. low-sodium chicken base
16 oz. 2% milk
8 oz. vegetarian refried beans
1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Fennel-Orange Slaw
Yield: Six portions
4 oz. shaved fennel
2 oz. julienned yellow beets
2 oz. finely julienned carrots
18 fresh orange segments
6 tbsp. shaved purple cauliflower stalks
1 tsp. blood orange-scented olive oil
2 tsp. white grapefruit balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh chiffonade parsley
2 tbsp. chopped chives

Romesco Sauce
Yield: 6, 1/5-tablespoon portions
2 roasted red peppers
12 raw almonds
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 oz. lemon juice

Cilantro Sorrel Pesto
Yield: Six 1.5 tablespoon portions
2 oz. cilantro
2 oz. sorrel leaves
3/4 oz. pistachio nuts
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. water

Papadum Crisp
Yield: Six portions, two crisps each
2 papadum crackers, cut into 1/6 sections


  1. Mix first 8 ingredients in bowl. Add sea bass, mix together and set aside, refrigerated, until ready to use.
  2. In hot pan, add oil and let heat up. Add sea bass, and let sit until it starts lifting off pan. Turn over, sear and let cook until done, about 6 minutes.
  3. Remove when done. Serve with Vegetarian Refried Bean & Farro Cakes, Fennel-Orange Slaw, Romesco Sauce, Cilantro Sorrel Pesto and Papadum Crisp. (Recipes follow.)
  4. After plating, garnish fish with 1/4 teaspoon of gremolata.

Vegetarian Refried Bean & Farro Cakes

  1. Heat oil in pan. Add bay leaves. Cook until aromatic.
  2. Add onions and sweat. Add garlic and cook until golden. Add farro and sauté until toasted.
  3. Add water and stock base. Simmer until farro is al dente, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add milk, bring to simmer. Add dried beans and stir until they reconstitute, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and hold at above 140°F until they firm up. After about 10 minutes, mix in parsley, chives, cayenne and lemon.
  5. Form 12, 2.5-ounce patties. Hold hot until ready to sear.
  6. Just before service, heat oil in pan, add patties and sear one side. Turn over and sear second side.
  7. Remove when crispy and add to plate.

Fennel-Orange Slaw

  1. Mix all ingredients in bowl and serve on center of plate.

Romesco Sauce

  1. Mix all ingredients in blender and purée. 

Cilantro Sorrel Pesto

  1. Mix all ingredients in blender and purée.

Papadum Crisp

  1. Toast papadum crisp in oven or on open flame.
Source: St. Clare’s Health System, Denville, N.J.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
woman surprise

When I joined the staff at FoodService Director in the spring of 2015, I couldn’t believe how much there was to learn about the intricacies of the industry. My past experience, from kindergarten to my college days to on-the-job meals, would lead me to believe that noncommercial dining was a kind of automated process—an amenity that’s expected, and one you only become aware of if something goes wrong.

But as with my own household chores, there are no magical elves making sure the business of feeding students, seniors and hospital patients is done, and done well. Foodservice...

Managing Your Business
hands team

In November, students at University of Missouri in Columbia began leading protests against discrimination faced by people of color on campus—including some marches through the dining halls. Julaine Kiehn, director of the school’s campus dining services, said the 2015-16 school year was a tough one, but she was proud of MU’s students for being at the forefront of a national movement.

And not only did the protests launch important conversations with students, but also with staff. Kiehn heard the protests and thought that her student workers, at least, might not feel safe and welcome...

Ideas and Innovation

When it comes to sustainability, sometimes the smallest kitchen changes can make the biggest difference. When Chris Henning, senior assistant director of dining services for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, switched from standard latex gloves to nitrile gloves, he also set up a recycling program. Once recycled, the gloves are turned into playground equipment, bike racks and park benches.

Henning says the nitrile gloves have been a good fit for his department, both in terms of durability and cost. “Participating in the campus buying program reduces the cost, as [our]...

Ideas and Innovation
elderly old hands

A family’s request for at-home meal support for a patient at Lee Memorial in Fort Myers, Fla., led System Director of Food & Nutrition Services Larry Altier to uncover a gap in care. He saw that only 1% of patients had been coded (diagnosed and labeled for billing purposes) as malnourished, while more than 60% of all Lee Memorial patients are over 65 years or older, a population that experiences the issue at a higher rate.

His discovery helped more rigorously identify malnutrition, but it also strengthened Lee Memorial’s community connection. The hospital launched a delivery...

FSD Resources