Steamed Black Bean Chilean Sea Bass with Hot Ginger and Scallion Oil

While I was home, my gracious mother sent me back with this beautiful cut of Chilean Sea Bass.  OH the wonders of sea bass, this has got to be my favorite kind of fish.  Everything about it is perfect -- the rich buttery flavor and firm texture of the delicate flaky meat are all reasons why I would eat this fish every day if I could.  I hear that it is becoming "over-fished" which breaks my heart because it sure is a delicious piece of fish.  I've never tasted anything close to the wonders and perfection of Chilean Sea Bass, so one can only imagine my excitement and joy when my mother gave this to me.

I decided to fix this fish in a traditional Cantonese style by steaming the fish first and right before serving, pouring very hot oil over ginger and scallion pieces.  The hot oil poured ontop makes the flavors of the ginger and scallion SO fragrant, and blends together beautifully with the precious juices from steaming the fish.

Ingredients for Steamed Black Bean Chilean Sea Bass: (serves 3)

  • 3 x 6oz Chilean Sea Bass fillets
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese Black Bean Paste
  • 1/3 cup fish stock (juices from steaming)
  • 3 tablespoons Shao Hsing Rice Cooking wine
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive sesame oil mix - 1/2 olive oil 1/2 sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup ginger, matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup green scallion, matchsticks

Place seabass in heat proof bowl and place 1 tablespoon of Black Bean paste on each fillet.  Place bowl on steaming rack in a deep large pot with 6 inches of water for steaming.  Pour cooking wine and soysauce over the fillets and allow the fish to steam at medium high heat for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.  You can test the doneness of the fish by using a toothpick or chopstick to pierce the meat, if it goes through it is done, if there is much resistance continue steaming for an additional 5 minutes, repeat until desired result is reached.

Remove fillets from pot when ready, and set fillets aside.  Retain the liquids from the bowl that the fish was steamed in and transfer to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Pour stock over fillets and place cut ginger and scallions on top.  Meanwhile, heat your oil mixture in another small saucepan and when almost smoking, remove from heat and quickly pour over scallion and ginger mixture ontop of fillets.  Serve immediately.

It is important to make sure that your oil is very hot before pouring over the fish, or else the ginger and scallion flavors will not be released into the broth.  This is such a simple way to prepare a good quality fish because the flavors are not over powering and compliments the sea bass' flavors, allowing it to stand on its own.

I also prepared a fish soup to go along with this dish -- I couldn't bear to throw away any scraps of the sea bass and in my opinion, fish stock is probably one of the most rich and intoxicating stocks there is! It is rich in "umami" flavors and always soothing to the belly.  Oh..and did I also mention that my heater is currently broken in my apartment?  Cold fingers = sad panda. So having this soup not only warmed up my tum but my hands and body as well :)

Ingredients for Fish Soup:

  • Fish bones and scraps
  • 2 large slices of ginger
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 yucca, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup tofu
  • chopped green scallions for garnish
  • salt to taste

In a medium pot, place the fish scraps and bones along with the ginger and shiitake mushrooms and fill to the top with water.  Allow stock to simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Add the yucca and tofu last and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until yucca is soft.  Add salt to taste and garnish with green scallions.

You can choose to strain the soup, or when eating it just be aware of the bones!