Parmesan Crusted Wild Sea Bass
Every once in a while, I come across a recipe that I consider "as good as it gets," and this recipe for Parmesan Crusted Wild Sea Bass is one of them. I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite cooking magazines, Cuisine at Home.
Their recipe calls for halibut, but when I went to one of my favorite seafood stores, Bywood Seafood Market, I was told fresh halibut was out of season, so I opted for wild sea bass, which worked perfectly fine.
This recipe is so good that any meaty white fish would work. In fact, there was some leftover "crazy water" (read on) leftovers, so I duplicated the dish with chicken thighs the next night and served it with broth, which was delicious. I think it would have been better with boneless chicken breasts, but I had boneless thighs on hand from the local Farmer's Market.
The "crazy water" I mentioned above is a simple broth that, traditionally, the fish is poached in. It consists of vegetables, water, wine, herbs and a few special ingredients to give the broth an incredibly flavorful taste that you then cook orzo pasta in to give the broth some extra body.
In this recipe, we don't poach the fish but roast it so the parmesan crust can firm up and get crisp. It doesn't take long at all to prepare this dish, only 15 minutes to roast the fish and prepare the broth. It takes more time to prep the ingredients and I highly recommend you practice "mise en place" before you start cooking.
That is, get all your ingredients prepped before you start. As you can see from the list below, there are a lot of ingredients, but I found I had most of them in my pantry already.
The original recipe is for 2 people and calls for two 4 oz. halibut fillets, but I purchased 2 pounds of wild sea bass and cut 6 individual steaks for four adults and 2 kids and there was enough for everyone.
I highly recommend you try this recipe and would love to hear your comments about you've tried it. I think you could make many variations to this recipe and I'd like to hear what you come up with.
Parmesan Crusted Sea Bass Recipe
- ½ cup panko crumbs these are Japanese bread crumbs but regular bread crumbs work fine too
- 4 teaspoons Parmesan cheese grated
- zest lemon finely minced
- 12 oz pesto purchased or homemade
- 2 pounds wild sea bass cut into 6 steaks spray olive oil
For the Broth or Crazy Water
- ½ large red onion minced
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- ½ cup orzo pasta dry
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ cup zucchini coarsely chopped
- 7 ½ ounces roasted red peppers cut into thin strips
- ½ cup Kalamata olives halved and pitted
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped juice from the zested lemon above Salt & Pepper, to taste
- fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- As always, preheat the oven to 450º F.
- Combine the panko (bread crumbs) with Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
- Apply a spoonful of pesto on the non-skin side of each sea bass steak and then top with the bread crumb mixture. Press the bread crumbs into the pesto with the back of your spoon.
- Spray each steak with a little spray oil, transfer to a baking sheet that has been coated with some spray oil and refrigerate until you are going to prepare the broth.
To Make the Broth
- Start by heating up a saute pan over medium-high heat, adding oil, and sauteing the onions and garlic. Saute for 3 - 4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add wine to deglaze the pan.
- Return the pan to the heat and simmer until the wine is reduced to an essence.
- Add the water and stir in the tomatoes, orzo, sugar and fresh thyme. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the orzo is cooked. While the orzo is simmering, it's time to roast the sea bass.
Roasting Wild Sea Bass
- Remove the baking sheet with the sea bass from the refrigerator and roast in your preheated oven for 12 minutes. The panko bread crumbs should be golden and the fish white and flaky.
Finish & Serving
- When the orzo is done, add the roasted pepper strips, zucchini and kalamata olives to the broth and simmer until heated through.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the fresh parsley and fresh lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- When it's time to serve, add some of the broth (crazy water) with vegetables to shallow bowls and place a sea bass steak into each. Serve.
Some of My Favorite Seafood Recipes
- Salmon Curry with Coconut Miso Recipe
- Grilled Salmon Delight: Perfectly Cooked Catch of the Day
- Everything You Need to Know About Ceviche
- Roasted Cod with Potatoes and Fennel Recipe
- Classic Tuna Casserole with Dill Recipe
- Shrimp Sauce Recipe
- Shrimp and Sweet Potato Curry Recipe
- Bacon Wrapped Scallops Over Coconut Curry Lentils Recipe