(Chicago) – This week, we commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus.  It’s customary for Filipinos to observe this season with penitence by not eating meat or poultry until Easter Sunday.  Even though I am not with my family in Manila to celebrate, I will do my share of personal sacrifice by abstaining from eating meat today. Believe me, to refrain from consuming beef, pork or chicken is a humongous effort for me to do.

Chilean sea bass is my most favorite fish. If this fish was priced the same as tilapia, I would not mind eating sea bass everyday.  Unfortunately, it is not cheap here in Chicago or anywhere else, and I can only have Chilean sea bass occasionally. I remember some years ago when Shangrila Hotel in Makati opened its new events café, Circles, and they served freshly grilled Chilean sea bass in their buffet spread.  At one dinner here, I was elated like a kid in an ice cream parlor!  I couldn’t count the number of fillets I ate that night but I am telling you, it was a lot. Then, a couple of weeks later, I headed back to Circles for another dinner. They pulled out the Chilean sea bass in their buffet. Should I be blamed?  :(

This dish is very simple and yet elegant. Chilean sea bass is a very forgiving fish, that even if you overcook it, the flesh will not dry up because of its high oil content. If Chilean sea bass is not accessible to you, any white fish fillet should be a good substitute.  You can even trim down the ingredients if you don’t have them in your pantry but keep the major ones which are butter, garlic and lemon.

Ingredients:

  • 2  (6-8 ounce) Chilean sea bass fillet
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup dry white wine or any stock
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dry parley
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Optional dill rice side dish:

  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon dry dill

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Season the fillets with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in over-proof frying pan over medium-heat and pan-fry the fillets, skin side first, for 3 minutes on each side. 
  4. Remove the pan from heat and place inside oven to bake for 4 minutes or more, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
  5. Remove the pan from oven and set the fillet aside on a serving plate.  Cover the plate with foil.
  6. Place the pan back on medium-high heat. Sauté garlic for a minute.
  7. Add white wine or stock to deglaze.  Let it reduce by half.
  8. Add the butter, lemon and parsley.  Season with a little salt and pepper
  9. Pour sauce over fillets. 
  10. For dill rice, heat oil in the same pan.
  11. Add rice and dill. Cook for 8 minutes. Keep stirring so that rice will not stick to the pan
  12. Serve hot with the fish.

 

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