Mexican Seafood Recipe: Pan-Seared Bass with Chile Lime Broth
Popular sea bass is a great choice for home entertaining. You can’t easily overcook it, and it holds its own with assertive flavors like olives, garlic, chiles, and lime. For a complete meal, serve with wedges of roasted potatoes and seared greens.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1-1⁄2 pounds skinless, boneless fillet of sea bass, or other firm-fleshed fish, cut in 4 portions
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and sliced in 1⁄4-inch disks
1 lime, cut in 8 wedges
1 tomato, cored, seeded, and cut in strips
1⁄2 bunch fresh oregano leaves, coarsely chopped (1⁄4 cup)
1⁄2 cup Spanish green olives, sliced
1⁄2 cup white wine
3⁄4 cup fish stock or clam juice
Season the fish fillets evenly with salt and pepper.
Heat one very large skillet or two medium skillets over medium-high heat for a minute and then coat the pans with the olive oil.
Add the fillets and turn the heat to very high. Sear until golden brown, about 2 minutes, then flip to sear the other side, about 1 minute.
Transfer the fillets to a rack over a plate to catch the juices, and reserve.
Return the pan (or pans) to high heat. Add the onion slices and sauté, stirring frequently, for 1 minute or until they start to brown.
Add the garlic, chile slices, lime wedges, tomatoes, oregano, and olives and sauté briskly for 1 minute.
Add the wine and boil until reduced by half.
Pour in the fish stock or clam juice, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
Return the fish fillets, along with their juices, to the pan.
Cover and cook gently for 2 minutes or longer, depending on the thickness of fillets. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately in soup plates with a generous puddle of broth and garnish of vegetables.
If you’ve ever considered preparing fish for a crowd but ruled it out as too scary, this light, healthy, one-skillet dish is a great choice. To serve a large group, just pan-sear all the fish, transfer to a casserole, cover with foil, and reserve.
Then, when it’s time to serve, cook the sauce in a few pans, pour over the fish, and finish cooking in a 350-degree F oven for about 5 minutes. What a great party dish!