Sea Bass with Tomato and Capers
I adapted this pan roasted sea bass recipe from one of my favorite cooking magazines, Fine Cooking. The original recipe calls for Halibut but I found some nice looking Chilean sea bass at the market but you can substitute any mild white fish like cod or grouper.
Great tasting local tomatoes are not available yet but you can find cherry or grape tomatoes that have lots of flavor at most supermarkets. I pick up a big container of them at Costco each week and my daughters eat them like candy.
This technique for cooking this dish is what I call “Pan Roasting”. Fine cooking calls it “Sear-Roasting” which may be more accurate, but I like the sound of pan roasting. You start by browning (searing) the fish in an ovenproof skillet and finishing in the oven. This is how they do it in many restaurants and a great technique for lots of your favorite recipes.
Pan Roasted Sea Bass with Tomato & Capers
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and halved
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
1½ tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1½ teaspoons of good quality balsamic vinegar (aged balsamic is nice if you can find it especially since you are using so little of it.)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1½ pounds of thick skinless Chilean sea bass filets or substitute some other thick white fish cut up into 4 pieces
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, sliced thin
How To Prepare At Home
Preheat your over to 450F.
Combine the tomatoes, capers, oregano, balsamic vinegar, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper in a mixing bowl.
I like to season the flour with salt and pepper and then dredge the filets in it. Be sure to knock off any excess flour from the filets. If you don't, the fish will stick and the flour will burn and make a mess in the pan.
Heat an ovenproof pan, large enough to hold all the filets without touching, over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering hot. Add the fish filets being sure they are not touching or crowded.
Cook until the fish browns and no longer sticks to the pan, about 3 minutes. Don't play with the fish while it is browning or you will pull it apart. When the fish sears, it should release easily from the pan.
Flip the fish over using a wide fish spatula if you have one. Add the garlic to the pan and continue cooking until the garlic starts to brown but don't let it burn. This should take all of 30 seconds.
Add the tomato mixture to the pan but not on top of the fish. Stick the pan into the oven and roast until the fish is perfectly cooked. How will you know when it is perfectly cooked?
When it is firm to the touch and opaque in the center. This may take anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.
As with just about everything you cook, let the fish rest a few minutes before serving with the tomato, garlic mixture spooned over it.
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