CHILEAN SEA BASS WITH SWEET MINT SEA PUREE
PEA SHOOTS, CUCUMBER, RADISH & PARSLEY SALAD
Chilean Sea Bass is one of my favorite fish to cook. Its high oil content keeps it moist whether you’re grilling, sautéing or baking. Its flavor is mild, rich and buttery. Its texture is firm with large tender flakes.
The true name for Chilean Sea Bass is Patagonia Toothfish, Antartic Toothfish, Black Hake or Ice Fish. It is found in the very cold waters of the southern hemisphere oceans. In the late 70’s when they wanted to market Patagonia Toothfish to the United State’s market, they didn’t think the name “Toothfish” would appeal to the US market. To be honest, this not so pretty name does reflect this not so pretty fish. But looks don’t reflect taste, and this is a very tasty fish! It was in the late 70’s that they changed its name to Chilean Sea Bass. So, Chilean is a name, not a point of origin.
I seasoned the sea bass with just fresh lemon juice, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. The mint pea puree is velvety smooth with a bright expression from the mint. Eating the fish with the puree is a perfect combination of flavors. The recipe makes a good amount of puree. Be sure to serve some extra on the side.
To add some piazzas to the dish, I created a crisp crunchy salad of pea shoots, cucumber, French breakfast radishes and parsley. For the dressing, I had fun playing with Ground Sumac. Maureen Abood (the Harbor Light food article’s previous author and published cookbook author) now has a fabulous line of spices, reflecting her Lebanese cooking. I chose her sumac for its tangy, lemony and bright flavor which sounded like the perfect pairing for my fish and pea puree. You can also use ground sumac wherever you want the bright lemony flavor: seafood, fish, chicken, grilled vegetables, hummus, salad dressings.
The ground sumac comes from drying the red berries of a sumac tree. There is a poisonous sumac, but it contains white berries. Most the sumac we see in our area is not poisonous. The poisonous variety like to grow around boggy wet areas. The beautiful sumac we see in the fall with its bright red foliage is not poisonous. Those sumac like wooded areas with good drainage.