A sea bass fillet, whether baked, sauteed or poached, is an impressive entree sure to please diners who love a delicate, buttery, tender fish. Bluenose sea bass, white sea bass, Chilean sea bass and black sea bass are all different species of sea bass. No matter which species you choose, don't overpower the delicate flavor of the bass bass with strong herbs and spices. Start with the freshest fish possible; it should not smell fishy, but of the ocean. Buy 1/3 to 1/2 pounds of bass for each serving.
Beautifully Baked Bass
Season the sea bass fillets with your choice of mild-flavored herbs and spices, such as dill, lemon, thyme, parsley, tarragon or basil. Chop the herbs and press into the fish fillet. Set aside some of the seasonings to garnish the sea bass when it's done. The fresh herbs bring out the flavors of the cooked herbs.
Julienne -- cut into match-stick size pieces -- vegetables such as carrots, celery, leeks or parsnips. Stay away from strong-flavored vegetables that could overpower the delicate flavor of the sea bass. Lay the vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan that you've sprayed with cooking oil. The vegetables will become a side dish.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sea bass on the vegetables. Bake the sea bass for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness of the fillet. For example, bake a 1 1/2-inch fillet for 15 minutes.
Simply Sauteed Sea Bass
Sprinkle a few drops of lightly flavored cooking oil such as sunflower or canola onto the bottom of a saute pan. Use a paper towel to wipe the oil onto the surface of the pan. Using this method cuts down on how much oil you have to use; you want only enough oil that the fish doesn't stick to the pan.
Heat the pan to medium high. If the skin is on the fillet, place the fish skin-side up. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Lower the heat and flip the sea bass fillet over. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Use a fork and separate the fillet gently. The interior should be opaque and white.
Deglaze the pan with your choice of white wine -- use the same wine you're serving with the fish -- vegetable broth or water and a splash of lemon juice. Serve this pan sauce over the sea bass fillets.
Perfectly Poached Bass
Bring the liquid to a boil. Try white wine, water or fish stock.
Add seasonings. Since the seasonings are in the water and not on the fish, use more. A good handful of parsley and dill won't overpower the sea bass. Add mild-flavored vegetables, black peppercorns, garlic cloves, chopped scallions or other seasonings of your choice.
Lower the heat to simmer the ingredients for 5 minutes. Slide in the sea bass fillets. Simmer for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness of the fillet or until the fish flakes apart easily.
- Bon Appetit: Sea Bass With Parsley Puree
- The Art of Cooking; Arnold Zabert
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food Safety: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures