Sea bass is one of my favorite fish, I love its buttery texture. I'm always looking for interesting recipes for sea bass, and this one for fish with creamy tomato sauce caught my eye. The original recipe used swordfish, but it mentioned that sea bass, bluefish, or any meaty fish would do. The sauce itself is quite flavorful, but it's not what I would describe as "creamy," as it only required 2 Tbsp of cream on top of 1/2 cup water and a can of diced tomatoes. There was a hint of creaminess, but the dominant flavor was tomato. I paired this with some homemade tabbouleh and store-bought dolmas. The tabbouleh is labor intensive, but tasty. It's also easily found in a lot of large grocery stores. The fish dish itself doesn't require a ton of prep work, and to cook it you just throw it in the oven and ignore it except to turn the fish over.
As usual, I made a full recipe of sauce. The original recipe called for a can of whole tomatoes. I bought a can of petite diced and spent less time chopping them. I also used fresh oregano since I have it in my back yard. My fish filets were a little more than 1 inch thick, so I ended up giving them an extra few minutes on each side to make sure they reached the right temperature. I used a meat thermometer to make sure my sea bass was cooked to 160 degrees, which seems to be the temperature at which the fish is tender and achieves its buttery texture. Using a meat thermometer when cooking fish is the way to go, at least for me. I kind of feel like I'm cheating, but who cares, it works!
Sea Bass in Creamy Tomato Sauce
From Food and Wine
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 poblano or Anaheim pepper, cut into 1/4 inch dice (I used a poblano)
salt and pepper
1 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained and finely chopped.
1/2 c water
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 6 oz sea bass filets, about 1 inch thick
1 tsp red wine vinegar
pinch of fresh oregano
1. Preheat the oven to 325 and begin making the sauce. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat the butter. Then add the poblano and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat until the poblano is soft, about five minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cream and simmer the sauce.
2. Cook the fish in the sauce. Rinse off the fish filets and season them with salt and pepper. Place them in the sauce. Cover the skillet with tin foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes (for a 1 inch filet) or until the fish reaches 160 degrees. Turn the fish once during baking.
3. Using a slotted spatula or tongs if you're particularly well-coordinated, place the fish on plates. Stir the vinegar and oregano into the sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed. Pour the sauce over the fish and serve.
My tabbouleh recipe can be found in this older post.