Monday, June 10, 2013

Grilled Sea Bass with Chili Lime Dressing – More Than Just a Nice Piece of Bass

While this is technically a recipe for sea bass, it’s really much more than that. This tasty technique represents a glimpse into my warm weather culinary habits. At least three times a week, I’ll toss some kind of lean protein on the grill, and finish it doused in some sort of dressing or vinaigrette.

When you consider the wide variety of meats and seafood, and the countless combinations of herbs, peppers, vinegars, and spices, you’re not just looking at a summer’s worth of stellar dishes; you’re looking at a lifetime’s worth.

This kind of operation always suffers from over-thinking. Don’t try too hard to come up with these adaptations, just let it happen. By the way, this is always a fantastic way to use up the last tablespoon of whichever bottled vinaigrette is languishing in the back of the fridge.

I always get concerned comments when I use sea bass, since there have been over-fishing issues, but this was labeled “Sustainably Produced” at one of those well-known, national markets. I didn’t do any independent research to verify, but if you can’t trust a giant corporate grocery chain, who can you trust?

Like I said, this will work with all kinds of things, and the more you use this style of cooking, the more you’ll want to use it. The dressing took five minutes, and the fish took maybe ten. That leaves plenty of time for savoring the long days ahead, which is why I hope you try this soon. Enjoy!

4 (4-oz each) sea bass filets
vegetable oil and salt to taste
For the dressing:
1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced, mashed or grated of microplane
zest of one lime
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sambal or other chili paste/sauce
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp Asian fish sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
cilantro leaves
roasted parnips, click here for recipe

View the complete recipe


oiacob said...

Going spearfishing for sea bass and then doing this recipe!!

Vincent said...

No fish 'n chips then?
Well, you're not stopping me.

Unknown said...

Chef John,

How would you adjust this recipe for us apartment dwellers without a grill? Broil or bake?

Chef John said...

Get a grill pan! Better on top of stove. Broil better than bake.

Civil Librarian said...

Chef John,

Great technique; thanks for sharing! Are the "carmelized parsnips" you serve on the side the same as the oven-roasted parsnips you demoed in a previous video?



Chef John said...

Yes! There's a link in the ingredients!

edward said...

Hey Chef, completely off-topic, big fan of your show, and I'm the guy that keeps asking for perfect bread sticks. Trying to figure out what to make, I was going through your pork section "that sounds strange" but I've been out of the US for about 2 years and I find 1/4 - 3/16 inch cut pork shoulder to be much tastier than loin. But here there's no fat cap and no bone, and in the US if you remove those things could you slice it and pan-fry it and eat it? Here yes, in the states I always smoke shoulder. I mention this only because you always make chops and loin and I've found that cut correctly the shoulder is tastier. Just wanted your opinion thanks. And I'm sending this with my google account so the NSA will be all over this. Be cautious.

Sarah said...

What a beautiful recipe, exactly what I wished for!

Now off topic, do u have a recipe for a tomato soup? I know it is very basic and there are tons of recipes on the internet, but there is just something about ur recipes that always works and creates the best dishes ever. I trust u more than Jamie Oliver or whoever. And u r especially good with tomatoy stuff. It would really make happy, maybe posted in September, when there is an abundance of yummy ripe tomatos?

Michele Cryan said...

"Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar" I have plain ol' Rice Wine Vinegar. What is the seasoning?

Chef John said...

Seasoned varieties have a little salt and sugar in them.

ChristineDux said...

Chef John,
I know you will be horrified, but we don't do chili sauce in our family. In fact, we don't do very spicy at all, for dietary reasons. That said, would you try a completely different dressing? Or try to make do? Thanks.

Chef John said...

That's too bad!!! Why?? Anyway, not the same without the chili!

ChristineDux said...

Right. Not the same. (Getting old sucks in some ways.)
So the question is, start over fresh or substitute something nonspicy?

ChristineDux said...

I'll try it! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I made this on Father's Day for my wife and me. As promised, super easy and so, so good. I almost didn't mind cooking my own Father's Day dinner -- almost!

I didn't have sambal so I used a splash of siracha and a minced chili pepper, and after tasting wanted a little saltiness so added a few dashes of soy sauce to mine. I'm not a huge fan of fresh cilantro so I omitted the garnish.

We had two super-thick sea bass steaks (probably 3.5" thick) so I butterflied them and grilled them about 3 minutes per side.

My wife and I really, really enjoyed this. A truly great summer fish recipe.

Thanks Chef John!

Locomotive_breath said...

Loved the dressing. I found it a little tart in the beginning but after I added a little honey, it because absolutely perfect. I used it liberally with some steamed veggies and just 15 minutes ago, on a salad. The salad reminded me so much of some the salads I've eaten in Thai or Burmese places.

I'm trying to be as vegan as I possibly can be, but fish sauce is a bridge too far. I CANNOT give that up. Any suggestions on alternatives?

Thanks Chef.

Edward A. Voss said...

May I substitute bass with halibut?

Chef John said...


(you can use any fish you like!)