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Every bite of this pan-seared sea bass with cherry tomato vinaigrette recipe will seem like a revelation to you of just how delicious absolutely simple cooking can be when you start with the best ingredients.
I like the way cherry tomatoes tomatoes have such big flavor, with a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.
In fact, cherry tomatoes are so flavorful that you don't even have to cook them to turn them into a fantastic sauce for seafood (or for poultry or meat, for that matter). Just cut each little tomato into 4 pieces and toss it with a little oil, vinegar, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste and you have a room-temperature, vinaigrette-style sauce that's perfect with pan-seared (or grilled) food.
I love to pan-sear sea bass fillets because sea bass cooks so quickly and easily this way, turning out moist and tender on the inside and brown and crispy on the outside -- especially if you leave the skin on, as I like to do with varieties like sea bass and salmon. The skin looks beautiful, tastes delicious, and adds a wonderful bit of crunch to every bite, and it also helps shield the fish from the heat, preventing the fillet from drying out.
To pan-sear successfully, start by preheating your oven. Then, heat an ovenproof saute pan well and add just enough oil to coat it lightly. You'll be ready to cook when the oil swirls freely in the pan, turns fragrant, and even shimmers slightly with the first hints of smoke. At that point, very carefully add the fillets to the hot pan, skin down, and cook until the skin is crisply browned. Finish the cooking in the preheated oven, and just minutes later you'll be ready to eat.
You'll be surprised by how simple contact with the hot sea bass makes the room-temperature cherry tomato sauce come alive with flavor.
[ Also Pan-Seared Sea Bass with White Bean Ragout ]
Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette Ingredients
Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette
1 pint cherry tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
6 basil leaves, stacked, rolled lengthwise, and cut crosswise into thin strips
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pan-Seared Sea Bass
4 sea bass fillets, each about 1/2 pound, skin on, scaled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette Recipe Instructions
First, prepare the Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette.
In a bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss gently and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
For the Pan-Seared Sea Bass
Brush the fish fillets all over with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Pat the fillets thoroughly dry all over with paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place a medium-sized ovenproof saute pan large enough to hold all the fillets over high heat.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and, when it swirls easily in the pan, carefully place the fillets in the pan skin side down.
Saute for 2 minutes, and then transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the fish is cooked through but still moist, 5 to 6 minutes longer, without turning the fillets.
To serve, spoon some of the Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette in the center of each of 4 heated serving plates. Use a spatula to carefully transfer a sea bass fillet, skin side up, to each of the plates. Spoon the remaining vinaigrette over the fish and serve immediately.
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Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette - Wolfgang Puck Recipes
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