The California white seabass isn’t actually a seabass at all, but is a member of the croaker family. It is also known as the king croaker, weakfish and seatrout, and is prized by commercial and recreational fishermen because of its mild flavor and flaky texture. Thanks to ongoing conservation efforts the California white seabass has received a “Best Choice” rating by the Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch. Seafood in this category is said to be abundant, well managed and harvested using environmentally friendly methods. Remember “Always Stay Legal and never take more than you’ll eat.” — Trevor Cook, Scuba Chef.
Grilled White Seabass With Vanilla Brown Butter
2 lbs. white sea bass fillets, skin on
1 stick unsalted butter
1 clove fresh garlic
3 tbs. Chef Paul Prudhomme “Blackened Redfish Magic” seasoning
1 whole vanilla bean, split
1 tsp. olive oil
Light the coals or preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Using a sharp knife make three 1/8″ cuts into the skin side of the seabass making sure they are equally spaced and angled. Lightly coat both sides with olive oil and dust with Chef Paul Prudhomme “Blackened Redfish Magic” seasoning.
Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until completely melted. Take notice of the white froth and bits that form in the melted butter; these are called milk solids and they are what we will “brown.”
Using the tip of a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean open. With the edge of the knife, scrape the bean gently from end to end, removing the vanilla; add scrapings to the butter, along with half of the bean pod itself. Continue cooking over low heat until milk solids in the butter turn light brown. Remove from heat and add one clove of crushed garlic. Keep butter warm over very low heat while preparing the fish.
The grilling surface should be only a few inches from the heat. Carefully place each fillet in the center of the grill, skin side up for about 30 seconds, then either lower coals or raise the cooking surface several inches and continue grilling, covered, for six minutes. Turn seabass carefully and spoon a small amount of browned vanilla butter over each fillet; cover and cook for about 4 more minutes. Watch for flare-ups.
When the fillet flakes easily it is ready to serve. Pair this spicy dish with sweet potato puree and sauted broccolini. Enjoy.
Light, clean and crisp wines will pair very nicely with the smoky, spicy blackened white seabass. Try a Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc.
About Seafood Watch
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program creates science-based recommendations that help consumers and businesses make ocean-friendly seafood choices. To download a Seafood Watch smart phone app or printable pocket guide, visit their website, www.montereybayaquarium.org and click on “Seafood Recommendations.”