Chilean sea bass feeds on shellfish, squid and small fish in sub-Antarctic waters, and lives to be almost 50 years old. Also known as Patagonian toothfish, some Chilean sea bass weigh nearly 200 pounds. When the fish is cooked correctly, the flavor of Chilean sea bass remains mild yet meaty and complements many sauces, seasonings and preparations.
About Chilean Sea Bass
Chilean sea bass has a high fat content and white flesh. Because of the high fat content, speedy high-heat cooking methods work well, searing the outer surfaces and caramelizing the flesh for greater flavor. Because the flesh is meaty and dense, slower cooking methods also work, such as stewing and sauteing.
Broiling and Grilling
The fillets and steaks of Chilean sea bass can effectively be cooked quickly in the dry and high heat common to broiling and grilling. Keep the inside moist by brushing the surfaces with olive oil or melted butter. Preheat the broiler or grill and salt and pepper both sides of the fish. Brush the broiling pan with olive oil or butter or use foil on top for easy removal. Broil or grill the Chilean sea bass for two or three minutes per side per inch of thickness, or until the outsides are slightly browned and the inner meat is translucent and retains some moisture.
Because Chilean sea bass fillets and steaks work well cooked over high dry heat, pan frying preserves their flavor and character. Preheat a skillet drizzled with olive oil on medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the Chilean sea bass and season to taste. Place it in the preheated oil in the skillet and sear until sizzling. Using a spatula, try to lift the sea bass starting at three minutes after starting to cook it. Turn the sea bass once it lifts easily from the skillet and won't stick or resist. Cook on the other side for three minutes or until it removes easily. Create a pan sauce after removing the sea bass by deglazing the pan with white wine or broth and scraping up the browned bits.
The meaty character of Chilean sea bass stands up well to moist preparations such as sauteing and stewing. While overcooking Chilean sea bass turns it to mush, sauteing it in flavorful preparations including olive oil, tomatoes and capers turns it into a Mediterranean-style fish entree suitable for serving with rice or pasta. Add chunked Chilean sea bass meat to a vegetable stew during the last hour of cooking in a slow cooker on low. Poach Chilean sea bass and serve with eggs and vegetables for a hearty brunch meal.
- The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook; Jack Bishop
- The Bridge Data Series: Chilean Sea Bass
Andrea Lott Haney writes articles and training materials for food industry publications. Having studied foodservice sanitation, nutrition and menu planning at Purdue University, Lott Haney has more than 10 years of experience as a catering and event planner for luxury hotels and currently tours the Midwest as a corporate customer service trainer and consultant.