You have to love the Patagonian toothfish.
This white-flesh fish lives of the Southern Atlantic, southern Pacific, and Indian oceans and cooks up sweet, with a buttery consistency that melts in your mouth (when cooked properly, of course).
A five-ounce serving has just 125 calories, 24 grams of protein and 1 gram of omega 3.
It’s a damn good meal. Too bad it’s called Patagonian toothfish. No wonder restaurants started calling it Chilean sea bass.
Always purchase this fish from a good source. If the market smells like fish, don’t buy it there. Portions should be white, have no smell, be firm and not jelly-like. Oh, and here’s an inside tip: Never buy fish on a Monday because it may be from left over from the weekend.
The Chilean sea bass is one of my favorites because it can stand up to just about anything and pairs well with anything acidic, even red wine!
This is a great dish to prepare at home for a date night because it presents well and it is hard to overcook.
Joe’s Crab-Crusted Chilean Sea Bass
2 6-ounce pieces Chilean Sea bass
2 tbls. red pepper, fine dice
2 tbls. green pepper, fine dice
1/2 tbls. chives, sliced thin
10-1/2 ounce sweet butter, room tempature
2 ounces lump crabmeat, not the imitation stuff
4 tbls. panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 tbls. shallots, chopped
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper
Sauté the red and green peppers in a teaspoon of butter over high heat for about 30 seconds. Then set aside to cool. In a small mixing bowl, add 2 ounces of butter and work it with a rubber spatula until it is really soft and smooth almost white. This should take about four minutes. Now add in the peppers, chives, juice from 1/2 lemon, and crabmeat. Mix this just enough. Then add the panko. Again mix this just until the panko is incorporated and the butter is smooth and crunchy.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels then season it with salt and pepper. Next pad the flattest part of the fish with the crust completely. It should be about a 1/4-inch high. Put the fish back in the refrigerator so the crust hardens up.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, in two sauce pots, sweat the shallots in a bit of butter over low heat until they are soft. Then add the red wine to one pot and white to the other and let reduce down by 3/4 over medium high heat. Add half the cream in each pot and reduce that by about half over the same heat. Here is the tricky part, Bring the flame down as low as possible and wisk in the rest of the butter little by little to each sauce. If you go too fast or the sauce boils, it will break and you will have melted butter with wine instead of beautiful silky smooth sauces.
Season the sauces with lemon juice salt and white pepper. Keep the sauces on a warm spot on the stove, not over a flame. They will hold for about two hours.
Put the fish in the oven on a lightly oiled sheet pan about 20 minutes before you are about to impress your date. You will know when the fish is done when it is very firm and will flake when you try to move it.
Joe Raiola is the executive chef at Morton’s The Steakhouse [339 Adams St. between Willoughby and Tillary streets in Downtown, (718) 596-2700].