Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Soy-Glazed, Asian-Style Chilean Sea Bass

Remember back in high school, when your best friend let you borrow his 3-month old, midnight blue Porsche Cayman so you could impress that varsity cheerleader? As the car knifed through the darkness, it was just you and her winding down the back roads behind your high school. The temperature hovered at a cool 50 degrees; the windows down but the adrenaline keeping you both warm.

You were driving a $52,000 car. You were cocky. But really, you were scared shitless - partly because of the car, but mostly because of her.
*This is not me, my best friend drove an Oldsmobile

At $19.99/lb, Chilean Sea Bass is like that Porsche sports car - miles above the plain and common tilapia (think Ford Focus) and even a step-up from that fresh, wild-caught salmon (think Audi A4). And like that midnight ride, you're going to be nervous. You're driving a Porsche Cayman (cooking Chilean Sea Bass) and it's balls expensive.

Yes I know - this is a big step and you have no idea what you're doing (did you even know how to drive a manual?!?). But trust me - there's a reason why its expensive, Chilean Sea bass is fucking amazing.

Why the High Price?
I like to think that I'm paying that higher price because this filet is going to help me along the way (like the Cayman). The thickness and high fat content make it difficult to overcook. It absorbs flavor like a sponge. It doesn't smell fishy and won't ruin your apartment. And best of all (without having to take a single cooking lesson), it tastes like butter and melts in your mouth.

Matt's Insights into Cooking Chilean Sea Bass
Whenever I cook a thin, flaky piece of fish like catfish or tilapia, I tend to flavor the fish using a combination of dry spices (blackening seasoning, salt and pepper or Cajun seasoning). I usually pan-fry the fish to emphasize the seasoning but also to maintain the delicate flesh.

Because Chilean Sea Bass is such a thick cut of fish, dry spices may not be able to really permeate through the entire fish. With Chilean sea bass, I want the fish to absorb the flavors of the simmering broth; therefore, the infused flavors are going to come from the cooking liquids. I feel like sea bass goes great in Asian-inspired dishes, so for this recipe/experiment I tried to focus on those flavors (in this case - soy sauce, onions, and pickled ginger).

  • 2 6-8 oz pieces of Chilean Sea Bass
  • Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper
  • Soy Sauce
  • Something to dilute the soy sauce and create a light broth. (In this case, I think I used a little bit of cooking wine and water. But you could add some butter, half of a squeezed orange, or just water)
  • Fresh scallions - partly for flavor but mostly because I thought they'd look cool for presentation
  • Pickled ginger

Recipe Guidance
I cooked this dish awhile ago and naturally didn't write down a single step in the process. However, I took a bunch of pictures (see the end of the post), so I'm hoping that I can re-create the steps.
  1. Skillet to medium-high, lightly saute the scallions in olive oil
  2. After a few minutes, throw in a few slices of pickled ginger.
  3. Place the fish into the skillet skin side up (The goal here is to lightly-sear the fish before simmering)
  4. After 30-60 seconds or so, add the soy sauce and  another liquid to help light the potency of the soy sauce
  5. Let simmer for a 3-4 minutes
  6. Flip (cover halfway to help the fish cook through) and simmer for another 3-4 minutes* (I can't remember exact times so you may have to run a Google search)
  7. Uncover, check for doneness (it will be an opaque white and it should flake away in nice slices when you cut it with a fork)
  8. And serve
Ideas for Sides
I could see Jasmine rice going well with this dish (especially if you've made a nice broth that can be sopped up by the rice). Add a vegetable (perhaps sauteed shitake mushrooms to stick with the Asian theme) and a white wine (maybe a Sauvignon Blanc).

In all honesty, I've only cooked Chilean Sea Bass a handful of times (and I'm usually winging it). But on every occasion, it has come out great - she will definitely be impressed.

Chilean Sea Bass & Sliced Onions

Olive Oil & Green Onions

Start face down. Add some soy sauce

Flip and Cook Longer

Cover to help cook through

Finished! Now add Sides

1 comment:

  1. A bit more mild than I expected. Using it in fish tacos the flavor got lost a little bit. Nice subtle flavors.

    Cath Brookes
    Time to check Brick Flooring


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