When I saw this beautiful fresh piece of Chilean Sea Bass at the store, I knew it will result a wonderful dish. This fish has such a rich sweet flavor, and a silky yet firm texture, that can be best described as “buttery”.
As I wrote in THIS former post, Chilean Sea Bass is the commercial name for the Patagonian Toothfish, which is a type of cod. In that recipe, I’ve paired it with the light and fresh flavors of lime and olive oil. The result was perfect for summer. Alas, the weather outside is now far from summery, and so I had to come up with a “warmer” (i.e, heavier) preparation.
Bearing in mind the “buttery” texture, I’ve decided to use butter as a base for a tasty and crunchy topping. Crispy chopped bacon and pecans were added to the butter, along with some fresh thyme, maple syrup and mustard. For the cooking liquids I chose white wine combined with Grand Marnier, an orange flavored liquor.
In order to keep the topping crunchy, I’ve decided not to cover the dish while baking. However, as the pieces are quite thick, I’ve made a few small horizontal cuts in each, in order to enable the steam to cook the fillets evenly from inside by the time the topping is golden and crunchy.
The result is a wonderful mix of flavors and textures; the butter melts over the fillet, keeping it moist, the topping adds a salty, slightly sweet, smoky-nutty crunch, while the thyme, wine and Grand Marnier add wonderful aroma.
No doubt this is a dish I’ll be making again. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: about 25 minutes
For the fish:
12 oz (340 grams) center cut boneless Chilean Sea Bass, cut in two, at room temperature
Fresh thyme sprigs
¼ cup Grand Marnier liquor
¼ cup fruity white wine
½ tsp salt
For the topping:
1.5 oz (40 grams) butter, soft
3 thin bacon strips, crispy cooked, chopped
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 420F (215C). Line a small pan with aluminum foil and baking paper. Pour in the Grand Marnier and wine. Sprinkle the salt and scatter the thyme springs on. Place the fish on top and make a few horizontal cuts in each fillet, with a small sharp knife (this will help cook the fish evenly). Dry the top with paper towel.
2. The topping: gently mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Divide and spread evenly on top of each fillet.
3. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 380F (195C) while the pan is still in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the oven temperature up to 420F (250C), while the pan is still inside. Bake for 5 minutes. Turn off and leave in the oven for 5 minutes longer.
4. Serve warm, with thinly sliced roasted potatoes, as shown here, or with any other side dish you prefer.