I love having shopping dates with my husband, where we do our food shopping together. Besides it being added “together” time, he always buys things that I’d never think to buy or that I wouldn’t otherwise splurge on (like fresh figs or fancy olives), since I much prefer to shop the sales. (My personal game at the supermarket is “How much did I save?”).
We stopped at the fish counter on our most recent outing. I was focused on the wild flounder (on sale!), but they also had Chilean sea bass, which is his favorite. I call it the “filet mignon of the ocean” because it’s so crazy-expensive. It’s also a fish I don’t like to eat often because Chilean sea bass is more likely to have a higher level of heavy metals than smaller fish. But I didn’t want to spoil his enthusiasm and, true confessions, once in a while even I indulge.
It was sooooo worth it. The texture of the sea bass was truly a delight. “Like butter!” While I haven’t yet mastered the fine art of presentation, as you can tell from my photographs, my husband (a true foodie) couldn’t stop raving.
You can actually make this dish with any white fillet. Other fillets are usually not as thick, so cooking will be even faster.
Marinade Ingredients (measurements are approximate!) for about 1 pound of fish
- 2 Tablespoons miso paste (I prefer chickpea miso)
- 2 Tablespoons hot water
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce (I use gluten-free)
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon chili garlic paste (optional and to taste, if you like a bit of a kick) Note: I buy chili garlic paste instead of Sriracha sauce, which contains sugar and I can’t have cane sugar; I use maple syrup for sweetness instead. If you want to use Sriracha, then skip the maple syrup)
- Olive oil and water for cooking
- ½ cup cooking sherry (optional)
- Put miso paste into a bowl and add hot water (hot water dissolves the miso paste easier than cold). Mix to dissolve the paste so you have a thick liquid. Add other marinade ingredients and mix to combine. Put fish into a plastic resealable gallon-size bag (I use the kind you have to squeeze the whole way across; I find the ones with the slider tab can leak), and pour in the marinade. Carefully squeeze out the air (don’t spill!) and seal the bag. Make sure the marinade gets all over the fish. Set aside to marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.
- While the fish marinates, prepare the kale. I happened to have several bunches of baby kale, but you can use any kind of dark leafy greens. I pulled the leaves off of the spines and just cooked the leaves–I find the spines can be unpleasant to chew. If you are using baby kale, you may be all set at this point. If you are using larger-leafed kale or other green, shred the leaves so that they are in ribbon-like strips. To save prep time, you can buy your greens prewashed and cut.
- Heat a sauté pan on medium heat. Once it’s to temperature, pour in some olive oil and swirl to coat. Remove the sea bass from the bag, letting excess marinade drip back into the bag (save it for later) and, if the fish has skin put into the pan cook skin side UP (I find it easier to flip if you cook it in this order). Flip when the fish is cooked halfway up, which will depend on the thickness of your fillet. It could be just a minute or two minutes for something very thin…mine cooked about five minutes per side. If your sea bass is thick, you may want to cover it, as I did, while it cooks to help it cook faster. I wouldn’t cover thinner fillets. Complete cooking to your desired doneness–generally the same length of time as for the first side. Remove to a plate.
- If yours cooks the way mine did, you will have some marinade and maybe a bit of fish stuck to the pan. Pour in about 1 cup of hot water (or, what I used, half water and half cooking sherry), and use a sturdy spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan to remove what’s stuck. Add the leftover marinade and bring it to boil for a minute our two, being careful not to let all of the liquid boil off (or add a bit more water if you need it). Pour into a glass or bowl to reserve as gravy for later.
- Cook the kale in the same pan, which by now will be pretty clean. Warm the pan to medium-high. Pour in some olive oil and swirl to coat, then add the kale. Cover for about two minutes, and uncover and mix it around to get all of the leaves cooked to your liking. Depending on your greens, this shouldn’t take more than about five minutes in total.
I would normally serve this with brown rice , but my daughter wanted to make sushi for dinner (we use a cooked fake-crab stick instead of raw fish, FYI), and so I’d made sushi rice for her. Whatever rice you may choose to use, add a bit of rice vinegar (I buy unseasoned, because seasoned rice vinegar has sugar added) to enhance the flavor.
Serve all together, and top with the gravy. And then savor the deliciousness!
Have an idea you would like me to cook? Let me know in the comments!