Learning to cook Chilean sea bass has been essential to me because it's one of my favorite meals! Seared Chilean Sea Bass on an island of garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach surrounded in roasted red pepper sauce. While I can't claim the idea as my own, I also can't call it a copycat.
In the early 2000s, a restaurant called Biaggi's served a very similar dish in contents with identical plating. I haven't the slightest clue how they made theirs, nor have I had it in over a decade.
However, this dish is an absolute treat.
Start with smooth yet chunky garlic mashed potatoes cheesed up with Neufchâtel. Pair that bite with a creamy and slightly vinegary roasted red pepper sauce, and you'll immediately experience something exceptional. Next, I swear you could approach this sea bass steak with your fork, and it would fall apart. Lastly, the silky sautéed spinach nestled between the island of potatoes and buttery sea bass adds a subtle fourth dimension that pulls the whole dish together.
With all that said, let's first look at what we're eating.
What is Chilean Sea Bass?
Chilean Sea Bass it's big, it's buttery, and has a light flakey texture that makes it a favorite of many. Then there's the fancy name. Chilean Sea Bass conjures up feelings of money well spent because how else could these fish have been caught other than by a giant fishing pole by a private fisherman off the shores of Chile!
When looking over the menu at a mid-high to a high-end restaurant, you might find Chilean Sea Bass along with the likes of Prime rib, Filet Mignon, and perhaps a truffle something or other.
Now, I'm certainly not here to downplay the deliciousness of this fish.
However, I think it's important to know where our food comes from and the real story.
SO, what is Chilean Sea Bass?
Well, first of all, it's not bass but cod.
Plus, a minimal amount, if any, are caught off the coast of Chile. Most of them are caught around Antarctica.
The name "Chilean Sea Bass" isn't very accurate and actually didn't even originate until 1977, and then it didn't even become as famous as it is today until the early 1990s. The Chileans were the first to market the fish to the United States, which earned it part of its name. The rest was marketing.
Chilean Sea Bass is either Antarctic Toothfish or Patagonian Toothfish. Sound a little less delicious now?
Well, it shouldn't, because if you've had it, this is what you had, and it's all about how it's cooked. More on that later!
The most important takeaway of this section is that you know that you're buying the fresh fish. You see, some Chilean Sea Bass are caught by many lines attached to a boat off Chile's coast and immediately shipped on ice, fresh to the USA.
Others are caught in Antarctica, frozen on the vessel, then shipped months later for resale. While the US is the largest consumer of the legal Chilean Sea Bass fishing trade, the numbers are dwindling, and it's said that these fish may be commercially extinct within the next five years. So choose wisely, and don't just go around eating a crap ton of 'em like they're McFilets!
How to Cook Chilean Sea Bass
What is the best way to cook Chilean Sea Bass?
There are multiple ways to cook Chilean Sea Bass, but you're probably asking, 'What's the best way to cook Chilean Sea Bass?'
Well, I use a two-step process that creates a perfectly flaky, buttery piece of fish with a crusty seared outside. I start by cooking the fish sous vide, then pan sear the Chilean Sea Bass.
Let's jump right into the two phases and answer some questions!
Sous Vide Chilean Sea Bass
Can you cook Chilean Sea Bass Sous Vide?
Yes, that's how I recommend starting off the cook. By cooking the Chilean Sea Bass Sous Vide, you're locking in all its natural flavors, not losing any of the fat, and by using my recipe, you're adding flavor.
What Temperature to Cook Chilean Sea Bass?
I like to Sous Vide my Chilean Sea Bass at 132°f. This seems to make the fish perfectly flaky but not too much before the sear, which will inevitably cook some of the fat out.
How long to cook Chilean Sea Bass?
You'll want to cook them for 30 minutes per inch during the Sous Vide process. In this recipe for Chilean Sea Bass, I used two steaks that were 2 inches, so they were in the sous vide bath for 1 hour.
How Long to Pan Sear Chilean Sea Bass?
Once the Chilean Sea Bass has come out of the Sous Vide, place the butter in the smoking hot cast iron skillet until it's bubbling. Pan sear the fish for 2 minutes on each side. You'll see the outer edges browning to a golden brown.
So, now you know how to sous vide and pan sear Chilean Sea Bass.
If you'd like to serve it as pictured, plate the mashed potatoes, then the spinach. This way, if any spinach falls outside the potatoes, you can easily put it back on top. I used small tongs for plating the spinach. Next, using a large spoon or gravy boat, pour the roasted red pepper sauce around the potatoes. Lastly, carefully place the fish on the island of spinach and potatoes, ensuring it doesn't flake apart.
If you're looking for a real treat, this is it! I made this for my Wife's birthday and served it with a delicious bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio.
Her response was classic..."I'm so sad that it ended!"
I suppose if you get that reaction, then you've done something right!
Give it a shot, and let me know in the comments what you think.
Also, if you're looking for a great appetizer to serve with this dish, check out this recipe for Escargot!
Thank you so much for reading, and as usual...
How to Cook Chilean Sea Bass
- 1 lb Chilean Seabass Filets
- 4 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- Salt and Pepper
- Set your Sous Vide Circulator to 132°f for 1 hour.
- Using a filet knife, remove the skin from the filets.
- Sprinkle each side with a pinch of Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.
- Place each filet in its own separate plastic freezer bag with two tablespoons of butter.
- Place the bags in the sous vide bath and, using the displacement method, pushes the air out and seal the bags. Allow them to cook for the entire hour.
- In the last 10-15 minutes of the Sous Vide cook, preheat a cast iron skillet over high heat to the point of smoking.
- Carefully remove the filets from their bags, ensuring they don't fall apart. They will be very flaky!
- Place two tablespoons of butter in the cast iron immediately, followed by one Seabass Filet. Sear for two minutes on each side, then repeat with the next filet.
- Follow the below.
- Add a scoop of mashed potatoes.
- Top the potatoes with half of the spinach if making two plates.
- Pour the Red Pepper Sauce around the potatoes just until it's filled the bottom of the serving dish.
- Carefully place the Seabass on top of the potato island.
- Serve and Enjoy!
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