Bass à la Nage

Blue bowl containing cooked bass fillet with seasonal vegetables in broth.
Photo: El Lower

By El Lower, Michigan Sea Grant GLANSIS Research Associate

Looking for a light summer dinner that celebrates fresh produce and fresh fish alike? Cooking fish à la Nage (a French culinary term meaning “in the swim,” referring to the broth the ingredients are poached in) is a quick and delicious technique that works well with any Great Lakes fish. This recipe uses bass, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and thyme, but feel free to experiment with any garden vegetables and herbs you may have on hand.

This light, fresh dish celebrates summer flavors. Photo: El Lower

Bass à la Nage


  • 2 fillets of bass, or fish of your choice (salmon, trout, or walleye would also be great!)
  • 1 small leek, white parts washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini and/or summer squash, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup white wine, sake, or vermouth
  • 3 cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a large, deep-sided pan, saute your leeks and garlic in butter with a pinch of salt over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add diced squash and a few sprigs of thyme and saute for another 5 minutes. 
  3. Add wine and cook for a minute to burn off the alcohol, then add the lemon juice and broth and bring to a simmer.
  4. Gently place your fish fillets into the pan so they are half-submerged in the simmering liquid (you may need to nudge some vegetables to the side to make room in the pan, but it’s okay to place the fish on top of them!), then scatter your cherry tomatoes into the broth.
  5. Cook, covered with a lid, for about 4 minutes, until fish is opaque on top and gently cooked through (adjust time based on the size of your fillets: a little less for small, thin fillets, and a little longer for larger ones).
  6. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, serve in shallow bowls with the veggies and broth arranged around the fish, garnish with some extra thyme sprigs, and enjoy!

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