seabass is one of the tastiest fishes in the world. and this recipe is so simple and utterly delicious. you just need fish, butter, paprika, salt & pepper.
i ordered pan-roasted seabass at a french bistro a few months ago, and it has stayed on my mind like a hot skullcap in hawaii. the fish involved such simple preparation w/ minimal ingredients, and it was PERFECTLY cooked. i was pretty sure i could replicate the texture and flavors, i just needed to FIND some seabass. one might think that wouldn’t be hard to do, on account of the whole “i live on a f’ing island” thing. but it’s not a fish that pops up in every market here as does, say, ahi. fresh ahi in EVERY form. hate me.
have you tried seabass? some of you probably haven’t, because it’s not one of the more commonly found fishes in many markets. it can be on the pricier side as far as fishes go, too. it all depends on where you live, really. of course fresh fish is always the best, but i’m betting most of my readers can’t get their hands on fresh sea-bass, so go with frozen. flash-frozen while fresh on the boat is always better, and sometimes your meat/butcher-guy actually knows enough about his products to tell you how something was frozen. sometimes your butcher-guy just stares vacantly at your breasts for a moment, brings his eyes back up to meet yours, and quizzically grunts “unh?”
kiddo alert: don’t waste good seabass on a kid that is hit or miss w/ fish, unless you have lots of money that you don’t mind wasting. and if all hits are of the fishstick persuasion, fix some frozen stix for those palate-less heathens while you enjoy some good seasbass.
- seabass fillets, 1 per person. anything less than 6 oz of fish for dinner just pisses me off, but go with whatever size you like.
- 4 tbsp real butter
- paprika (this is going to season the fish a bit, but will also give it a beautiful color and sear)
- kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
- heat a cast-iron pan to a solid MEDIUM heat. melt 4 tbsp butter in pan.
- gently pat dry fillets on both sides with paper towel.
- rub a little olive oil into both sides of fish
- give generous sprinkling of salt and pepper on each side of each fillet. then, give a generous sprinkling of paprika on each side of fish.
- place fish skin side DOWN (if skin is on, and it really should be) in hot pan, and leave it alone. i said don’t touch that mofo!! pan-fry the fillets for about 4-5 minutes on each side until just done. if you have small, really thick fillets (like an inch or more thick), you’ll need to cook for closer to 6-7 min per side. you want your fish to be opaque in color, and moist in it’s very center (GIGGITY). oh, and when using cast-iron to fry, it’s always best to use a metal spatula, so you can really get a deep scrape under that fish before flipping it, ensuring no flaking and no loss of texture. please don’t overcook, please don’t overcook, please don’t…
- serve over jasmine (or any kind of) rice and add a vegetable. keep it simple. simple fish, simple sides. you deserve a break (i’m projecting.)