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Simple Yet Elegant: White Seabass with Roasted Red Peppers

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White seabass with roasted red peppers

White seabass with roasted red peppers

Holly A. Heyser
This is an easy -- yet elegant -- dish that highlights a phenomenal fish, the white seabass or corvina. White seabass is a Pacific fish that is a member of the drum family (not actually a bass), and is white, firm and deeply flavorful. Do this recipe with a great, firm fish -- if you don't have white seabass, use sturgeon, red drum (redfish), grouper, albacore, mahi mahi (dorado), or yellowtail.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of white seabass steaks
  • Salt
  • Flour for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 roasted red peppers from a jar
  • Finely chopped chives, about 1 tablespoon per diner

Preparation:

Cut your fish into rectangles about the size of a deck of cards. This is a good serving size. You could go larger if you want, but you may need more red peppers.

Salt your fish well and let them rest.

Take a few roasted red peppers from the jar, and lay flat on a piece of paper towel to drain. Quality is key here, so buy good roasted red peppers; Spanish piquillo peppers would be especially nice. Why not do them fresh? Because you need the acid from the vinegar in the preserving jar to make this dish. You could do everything fresh, and soak the peppers in vinegar or lemon juice for an hour, but the end result is very similar, so why bother?

Once the peppers have drained a bit, about 5-10 minutes, lay them flat on a piece of wax paper touching each other. Now find a bowl, or a large circle mold, or something else to cut a large circle with -- I use an old can that once held Greek stuffed grape leaves. Press it down on the peppers to create a nice circle of red pepper. Carefully lay this circle onto a serving plate.

Heat a saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Once it is hot, add olive oil and turn heat down to medium high. Let this get hot for another minute or two.

Meanwhile, dust your fish with flour. You want a light coating, not a heavy one. Arrange your fish in the hot pan and cook at medium to medium-high heat. You do not want the pan to be ripping hot, as you are working with thick fish steaks, not thin fillets.

Cook the fish on all sides. Keep it on the first side the longest. How long? Watch the sides of the fish; it will cook upwards. When it is about 1/3 of the way up, turn. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness. If you have a block of fish, as I do in the picture, "kiss" the other sides of the steak for a minute or two so they look nice and golden brown.

To serve, remove the fish and let them rest on a paper towel for 2-3 minutes. Find the nicest-looking side and make sure that one is facing up. Place a fish steak in the center of the red pepper circle, then sprinkle everything with the chives.

Drink a Spanish white with this, such as an albarino, or try a Sicilian grillo or Monterey gewurztraminer.

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