Cooking On A Budget: Sauteed Sea Bass

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sauteed Sea Bass


We've talked about sea bass in other posts but for the sake of newcomers to the blog, my husband and daughter both love fishing and my husband has a friend who owns a lobster boat. My daughter goes with an avid hobby fisherman who also owns a boat. They both fish for black sea bass and of course other fish in Long Island Sound and sometimes even venture out to the waters close to Block Island.

Black Sea Bass is a close relative to Chilean Sea Bass which is very popular on the menu of fine dining restaurants. Both are fished in cold waters and the fishing laws dictate how much individuals can catch and the size at which they can be kept.

According to a fish wholesaler in New Jersey, Chilean Sea Bass is $23.79 per pound for 3-5 pound fillets. The photograph presented on their website leads me to believe the Black Sea Bass isn't much different in looks as far as the fillets. Here's a photograph I found on Google that was taken on a chartered fishing boat and it's a whole black sea bass.

Photograph from Google Images - Black Sea Bass
Basic and simple was my approach to cooking the sea bass. This particular fish is white and when cooked it remains pure white and has a large flake. If you want simple and easy this preparation is great. What you get is a nice golden, but light crust on the outside and the inside is just the wonderful yet mild flavor of this beautiful fish. You can use any white fish fillet like flounder, sole, halibut or cod and you will get amazing results.

What I did was take the two largest fillets and cut each one in half to make turning the fish easier. So there were two pieces slightly thicker and I adjusted for that in the cooking time. The thicker fillets were about a 1/2 inch or so thick and the thinner fillets about 3/8 inch or so thick.
  • 4-6 pieces of sea bass fillets
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  1. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the fillets.
  2. In a dish add in the flour, salt, pepper and paprika and mix well to combine.
  3. Dredge the fish in the flour mixture to coat all sides, shake off excess.
  4. Set a large skillet over medium heat and heat the pan for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add in the olive oil and butter and let it melt and when the butter starts to bubble add in the fish. Turn the heat up to high. Do not over crowd the pan. Do in batches as necessary and keep the cooked fish warm on a plate in a low oven of about 200°.
  6. Cook and brown the fish for 3 minutes on one side for the thicker and about 2 minutes for the thinner fillets.
  7. Cook and brown the second side another 3 minutes and one and half to 2 minutes for the thinner fillets.
  8. Remove from the pan and place on paper towels to absorb some of the grease.

We served these beautiful fillets with my homemade tartar sauce and the last of the fresh silver queen corn of the season we got at farmers market and some home made fries.
Most seafood from commercial fisheries is fresh frozen on the fishing vessels and is available in any super market. Don't hesitate to ask the grocery store fish monger when the shipment of fish came in and ask to smell the fish. If it smells any thing other than the ocean - leave it and run away quickly! But don't think fish fillets are not in your budget because of the per pound price. Take a guess as to how much your family will eat or ask the fish man/woman advice for how much and ask how much it will cost. If the price is affordable please by all means make the purchase because fish is one of the healthiest things you can put into your body. On the flip side if the total cost is too much just say, "Thank you no I'll have to pass on that." My guess it it might not be especially if you are talking flounder or sole.

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