Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chilean Sea Bass with Lemon Caper White Wine Sauce

I wish we ate more fish, it's just not the easiest in terms of logistics.  Unlike other proteins, you shouldn't keep it for days in the fridge until the day you want to dine on seafood.  Often, I will make fish on Sundays, the day for grocery shopping.  I like my fish extremely fresh, which is important to quality and taste.  If your fish smells like fish, that's not a good sign.  Get yours from a fishmonger or grocery store that is popular, which means high turnover and therefore fresh product. 

Instead of the usual salmon, I picked up some Chilean sea bass last week.  Wild, line caught variety is best.  A few years ago, it was a no-no to eat Chilean sea bass because it was over-fished and the supply was dwindling.  Since then, the population has made a good recovery and you can eat them without guilt.  The real name for sea bass is Patagonian toothfish, and they are some ugly mothers.  You won't see that name on any restaurant menus, it's not quite as marketable as sea bass.  Want to learn more about which seafood is sustainable?

Feel free to use any firm white fish with this delicious lemon caper white wine butter sauce.  I served up these beauties on a bed of garlicky sauteed spinach with a side of oyster mushroom risotto. 

You should serve this with a glass of crisp dry white wine, such as a Chablis, Sauvingnon Blanc, or Pinot Gris.  And instead of guzzling the whole bottle, pour the last bit into an ice cube tray.  When frozen, move the wine cubes to a plastic freezer bag.  Now you'll have that little bit of wine you need for pan sauces such as this.  

One more thing.  The handle of that skillet will be hot when it comes out of the oven.  Don't forget about that, as I did.  I don't often burn or cut myself, but it's certainly easy to do if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  They make silicone handle covers which I should have put on right away, instead of gripping the super hot handle and searing my palm and finger.

Chilean Sea Bass with Lemon Caper White Wine Sauce
2 servings
12-14 oz sea bass, boneless and skinless
canola or veg oil
2 TB unsalted butter
1 TB finely diced shallot
2 TB capers, drained and rinsed
1/4 C dry white wine
3 TB fresh lemon juice
1 ts fresh parsley, finely chopped

Fire up the oven to 450°F.

Season both sides of the fish with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Heat an oven-safe skillet over high heat.  Once nice and toasty, add a touch of canola or vegetable oil to coat the pan.  Sear for three minutes on one side, then flip and place in the oven for about 8 minutes, until cooked through.  Place the fish on a plate to rest.  

Place the skillet back on the stovetop over medium-high heat.  Add the butter and the shallot, cook for a couple minutes stirring often until softened but not browned.  Add the white wine and scrape up any tasty bits on the bottom of the skillet.  Add the capers and lemon juice, stir.  Cook until the wine is reduced a bit, another 3 minutes or so.  Add in the parsley and stir, remove from heat.  Season to taste with S&P. 

Plate the fish by splitting into two servings, top with the sauce and serve with a lemon wedge.

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