Pan Roasting Is Where It's At
Professional chefs use this cooking technique all the time but how many of you have heard of it or pan roast at home?
Before you start this recipe, I recommend you read my article on pan roasting to pick up some tips on how to pan roast properly. It provides you with some great tips and suggestions to help understand how pan roasting works and why it is a popular cooking method with professional chefs.
This post also talks about the importance of being careful whenever you heat up oils and other fats or add fats to a preheated pan. You can see how I determine pan temperature before adding a fat in my post How Much Heat To Use When Sauteing.
Chilean Sea Bass
Currently there is a lot of controversy about Chilean Sea Bass, also called the Patagonian tooth fish and you can read more about this controversy below. This recipe calls for sea bass and there are many varieties of sea bass including black sea bass, giant sea bass, Japanese sea bass, European sea bass and I'm sure there are more.
I suppose if you want to confuse the issue even more, we could talk about striped bass but that's another species and a topic for another time.
Ignoring the controversy, I am a big fan of Chilean sea bass but because of the very high cost, I don't buy it very often. I am amazed at how such an ugly fish can taste so good. Instead I often opt for black sea bass or stripe bass, both coming out of the Atlantic ocean.
Pan Roasted Sea Bass Recipe
- If you can, I highly recommend getting all the ingredients prepped before you start - Mise en Place. This way you're not scrambling around chopping something while the rest of the meal is overcooking.
- Start out by finely chopping the onion and slicing the mushrooms. Besides having all the other ingredients available, chop up the parsley.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F. I made the mistake of waiting until I needed the oven and it took a lot longer than expected to reach the right temperature.
- Heat the olive oil in your pan over medium high heat and sauté the chopped onion until it's translucent.
- Deglaze the pan with Marsala wine. Be careful to remove the pan from the stove when doing this to prevent the wine from igniting in your face. You can use white wine if you don't have any Marsala wine. It will give the dish a slightly different taste, but you may like it better.When most of the wine is cooked off, add the mushrooms and butter. This recipe would have a lot more flavor if you were to use wild mushrooms, but at the time, all I had were plain old boring white mushrooms and it still came out great with lots of flavor.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the mushrooms are tender. How do you know when they are tender?Taste one! That's part of the enjoyment of cooking, you get to taste as you go along. It's also a great way to learn what works and what doesn't. If you just follow a recipe without ever tasting, you'll never learn the effects ingredients have on a dish.This is especially true with salt. I've made soups that tasted OK but after adding a little salt, it had a wonderful new flavor. So make sure you taste as you go along.
- At this point add the chicken stock, a little salt and pepper, and let the sauce cook down until it thickens a little. Rule of thumb: when the sauce can coat a spoon, it is the correct thickness. This is something you need to play around with until you learn to get it to the thickness you like.
- In an oven proof sauté (fry) pan, heat the canola oil until hot, but not so hot that it's about to smoke. Be careful every time you cook with hot oil or any fat you heat up. Be prepared for flame ups by having a pan cover handy and always have an chemical fire extinguisher in your kitchen to put out fires if necessary.
- Season the fillets with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan. Now here is where I had a small problem. My fillets didn't have skin on them so I had to adjust my cooking times to compensate.Otherwise, I would have started cooking them skin side down for approximately 5 minutes until the skin was nice and crispy. Then I would have flipped them over for 30 seconds, transferred them into a 450°F oven and roasted them for about 3-4 minutes.
- But since my fillets were skinless, cook them on one side for about 5 to 6 minutes and flip them over for another 2 minutes before transferring to the oven for 3 to 4 minutes.
- On warm plates ( you can heat them in the microwave for about 2 minutes), dish out the onion-mushroom mixture and top with the pan roasted fillets. Sprinkle a little of the chopped parsley and serve.