I like to think of Sea Bass as the chicken breast of the sea. That is to say, sea bass has a mild and clean flavor and is suitable for many dishes and preparations. Sea Bass differs from Mediterranean sea bass (branzino), black sea bass, and stripped sea bass in that it’s actually mislabeled; sea bass is “drum” fish as Chilean sea bass is really “Patagonian toothfish.”
Regardless of labels, we like sea bass because it has a great neutral flavor and takes a sauce very well. In our case, we whipped a batch of Italian chimichurri sauce and served it along side our fillets of sea bass and a salad of romaine lettuce and thinly sliced fennel.
We also adore sea bass because it’s local to NJ and wild (though often over fished) and unlike Branzino it is not farmed or flown in from overseas). Sea bass can be grilled whole and it’s easily baked or even poached in a large pan on the stove top. Like many whole fish that have not been filleted by a fish monger or market make sure to remove all bones before serving.
- 1 1.5-3 pound whole sea bass (ask your fish guy or girl to gut the fish and remove the scales)
- 1 head of romaine lettuce
- 1 bulb of fennel/anise
- 1 bunch of parsley
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Dried oregano
- Red Pepper flakes
- 1 clove of garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the Fish - Wash your whole fish under clean (cold) water and patch dry. Place the whole fish on a large baking tray lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil over the fish making sure to cover the whole exterior and belly area. Sprinkle liberal amounts of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on the exterior of the fish. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. You'll know the fish is done when the skelton (including head) easily seperates from the fillets.
- For the Chimichurri - Combine ½ cup of finely chopped parsley, 1 minced garlic clove, ½ cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and dried oregano, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mix well and taste (add hot pepper flakes if desired).
- For the salad - Remove the exterior and stalks from the fennel / anise bulb. Cut the bulb in half and remove the tough piece of fennel at the bottom of the bulb (this also holds the layers together). Slice thin and place in a large bowl. Wash and dry 1-2 heads of romaine lettuce. Chop into 1.5-3 inch pieces and place in bowl.