Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Shiitakes and Leeks

A restaurant quality meal served in the comfort of your own home. It doesn't get any better than this. This recipe is from The Restaurant at The Egremont Inn located in Massachusetts. I was looking for a recipe that really brought out the flavor of the Chilean Sea Bass. After looking through several recipes I decided this was the one. I also learned some new techniques that I'll be sharing with you. But before I get into that there are some controversial opinions on the Chilean Sea Bass. Please read on...

Some facts on Chilean Sea Bass. It really isn't a bass at all. Biologist insist that this fish be called the Patagonian Toothfish due to the apparent and visible pointy teeth. Did you know that this fish is only found in the waters of the Southern Hemisphere? And the controversy behind this buttery, flaky delicious white fish is that a group of Environmentalist are concerned that this fish may be overfished and in danger of becoming extinct. There are opposing sides to this controversy that state that it simply isn't true. 

So what can we do as consumers? The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Department of State issued a fact sheet back in 2002 stating that we as consumers and restauranteurs alike should ask about the source of the Chilean Seas Bass they purchase. Is this a classic case of supply and demand? I couldn't say. But it definitely is an expensive fish at a whopping $25 a pound. What are your thoughts and opinions? I had no idea until after I had bought the fish. I don't know whether to feel bad or be glad. Because with out a doubt, this fish was one of the tastiest fish I've had in awhile.
7 tbsp Butter (you can use less and replace with extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 Cup Leeks, rinsed and sliced to 1/8 inch
1 Cup Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 Cup Tomato Concasse (please click link to learn this technique) I used my Heirloom Tomatoes
2 tbsp Basil Chiffonade (please click link to learn this technique)
1 Cup Dry White Wine (I used a Pinot Grigio but Chardonnay works too)
1-2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 Cup Curry Flour (1 cup flour, 2 tbsp curry powder mixture)
4 Cups Spinach loosely packed
Three 6 oz Portions of Sea Bass

1. Preheat over to 500 degrees or close as possible. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a medium saute pan and add the leeks, sauteing over medium-high heat until they begin to wilt. Add 1 tbsp butter and, when melted, add the shiitakes and let them begin to wilt also. Add tomato concasse and basil, tossing to mix well then pour in the white wine and let reduce by 1/4, keeping the pan over medium-high heat.

2. While the sauce is reducing, heat a large saute pan over high heat until just short of smoking. Season fish with a little salt & pepper and dredge in curry flour, patting off any excess. Put oil in hot pan, swirling to cover the entire bottom, and place the fish fillets in the pan. Sear the fish for under 1 minute until it starts to color. Gently turn fish  over and place the pan in the over to finish cooking, 6-8 minutes.  The fish will begin to open and the flesh will be opaque. 

3. While fish is cooking, enrich the sauce by adding 3-4 tbsp of butter, stirring and swirling the pan until the butter is incorporated into the sauce. Pull the sauce from the heat, holding it in a warm place until the fish is out of the oven. When the fish is finished cooking, remove from the oven and let rest for 2-3 minutes in the pan.

4. When you are ready to serve, you will need a minute to finish the sauce. Bring the sauce to a low simmer over medium heat, add the spinach, and let the spinach wilt. Add 1 more tablespoon of butter, easily stirring into the sauce. Check for seasoning. Plate the fish, surrounding it with the spinach and shiitake sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes. We ate ours with brown rice.

The Chilean Sea Bass was perfection. The delicate, buttery flavor of the fish was absolutely divine and the Shiitake sauce, was rich and flavorful.

My love devoured his plate and asked for dessert. The hubs, he was quiet and within minutes (I'm exaggerating) there was not a single drop of food left on his plate. A successful dinner with some new techniques under my belt. I hope all of you are enjoying your dinner. Happy eating my friends. 

mmmm spinach makes me strong....Popeye
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20 Reactions to this post

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  1. roxan said... August 12, 2010 at 2:45 AM

    I know it's totally un-PC of me but chilean sea bass is my FAVORITE fish. yours is beautiful!!

  2. jose manuel said... August 12, 2010 at 3:27 AM

    Un plato muy cmpleto, me ha gustado la combinación de ingredientes. Con tu permiso me lo copio.


  3. Ruth said... August 12, 2010 at 6:03 AM

    Hi Lisa,

    thank you so very much for stopping by my blog... and for the sweet words you left me that lifts me up..:)

    So glad to meet you and learn some new recipe that i could dare to try out..:))

    A new follower now!


  4. cooperl788 said... August 12, 2010 at 6:35 AM

    This looks phenomenal. Doesn't it make you feel good to serve something you know would cost an arm and a leg in a restaurant? This is how I justify my expensive ingredients. :)

  5. Cajun Chef Ryan said... August 12, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    The fish is seasoned, floured,and sauteed perfectly! And the shiitakes look so inviting!

    Bon appetit!

  6. Monet said... August 12, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Sea bass is delicious...but I also worry about the sustainability to of eating it. Your dish looks so beautiful though and I loved seeing your little guy enjoying his food. So adorable!

  7. Pacheco Patty said... August 12, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Your fish looks very good, I'm impressed that your little guy is such a good eater, congratulations on feeding him so well!

  8. Kim - Liv Life said... August 12, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    You made this one look so easy! Love your pictures, the bass looks perfect. But... your son steals the whole blog! What adorable pictures! I miss my little guys, my son grew 8 inches in the last year and now he towers over me. I have to have him help me reach things up high, he gets a kick out of that.

  9. ~Lisa~ said... August 12, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    @ Roxan, thanks it was so good. And happy 30th! Hope you have loads of fun (=

    @ jose Gracias!

    @ Ruth, I look forward to sharing my journey with you and hope you are doing well.

    @ Laura, you make a great point (=

    @ Chef Ryan, thank you so much! I love hearing that from a Chef (=

    @ Monet, I know I really hope its not going extinct. I also read that these fish have a very slow growth rate and should only be caught after they are fully grown. So if fishermen follows rules and regulations, these guys should be ok.

    @ Patty, thank you. I try really hard to cook kid friendly meals but I'm thinking most kids are not like my son. He really does enjoy eating. And as he matures he's more willing to try new things, especially if there is dessert involved afterwards (=

    @ Kim, thats too sweet. 8 inches! wow thats a huge growth spurt.

  10. Ari said... August 12, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    I love chilean sea bass, but have yet to cook it at home. Adding this to my recipe list, looks lovely! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Lawyer Loves Lunch said... August 12, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    I know it's so wrong and unsustainable and all that but we love Chilean Sea Bass. We generally order it when we eat out but you've done such a fabulous job preparing it at home, I may have to give it a go! :)

  12. ~Lisa~ said... August 12, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Thanks Ari! I really liked your crab cake recipe.

    Thanks Azmina! I just checked out your scallion pancakes, and yummo!

  13. Magic of Spice said... August 12, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    Oh heavens...curry four...yum! This is a fantastic fish, and yes pricey but well worth every bite :) This is an amazing dish, absolutely not a thing here that I do not love-love. Splendid! Oh, when I said on FB "I am on my way", I am actually trying to find your house, lol :)

  14. Lifewithpurpose said... August 12, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    Ok Seriously Lisa are cooking this stuff for real! Oh my! Me and little guy watch food network all the time. You might need to be one of those shows. Seriously.

  15. Mama Hen said... August 12, 2010 at 7:59 PM

    Delicious Lisa! I love this recipe! I hope you are ready for tonight! I am so happy to feature you and your super blog!

    Mama Hen

  16. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said... August 12, 2010 at 10:33 PM

    Lisa, this dish looks fantastic! I didn't know it was overfished thanks for sharing that. My family would love this!

  17. Alicia said... August 13, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    Wow.... I'm getting hungry with the yummy photos and recipes... Great blog...

  18. surviving suburbia said... August 13, 2010 at 2:09 AM

    awww... little christopher is so cute! and this recipe is awesome, i need to try it. i was using a different sea bass recipe, this sounds yummier! oh, props to you for making your meals look so lovely! there's nothing like great presentation to bring out the best in yummy food. :)

  19. Federica said... August 13, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    Fa vo lo so!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. The good vegan wife and her family said... January 15, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Looks delicious- we are going to give it a try tonight.