The squid have finally shown up around the islands and along the coast here in Southern California, and the white sea bass are right along with them. I’ll be heading off to San Clemente Island but unfortunately the current Naval Schedule has most of the Island closed over the Holiday weekend. Regardless, we’ll make the most of our five days out there.
One of the trends in today’s cooking is lighter sauces. We have been using less cream and butter in our sauces, and the base for this sauce will work for most other vegetable-base sauces as well. The key to this is to have a powerful, high-speed blender. If you don’t have one, all that means is the sauce will not be as smooth as in the photo, but it will taste just as good. The following recipe serves four:
4 pieces of white sea bass fillets
1 TBSP of your favorite seasoning mix
Extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, peeled, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 sprig fresh thyme stem (leave all together)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled, small dice
1 cup vegetable stock/broth
½ TBSP grated fresh ginger
1 TBSP Kikkoman lime ponzu sauce
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
* Season sea bass fillets with seasoning mix and hold them in the refrigerator.
* Heat up a saucepan to medium with some olive oil (only a small amount — you will use the rest of the olive oil later in the sauce).
* Add the garlic, shallots, thyme and carrots, and gently simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
* Turn up the heat and then add the vegetable stock and let simmer for 30 minutes, allowing the carrots to soften up.
* Simmer the sauce until the broth is 80 percent evaporated.
* Add the ginger-and-lime ponzu sauce. Remove your mixture and gently pour it into a blender.
* Be very careful with this step! If you can, pulse your hot mix in your blender in order to allow the fast expansion of steam that will be created when the blades first puree everything. If not, this can shoot out of the top and cause a nasty burn. Once the intial blast is over, then turn to medium then high speed.
* While your mix is blending at high speed, slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil. It will emulsify into the sauce. Stop and check if it needs any extra seasoning.
* Strain your sauce through a china cap back into your clean sauce pot.
* Cook your fish as you normally would and serve with carrot-ginger sauce. This is good with a side salad too.
About the Chef — Steve Black attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, and began his hotel career at the Sheraton Boston Hotel & Towers in 1984. In 1990, Chef Black traveled abroad to Strasbourg, France, where he had the opportunity to work with several 5-Star Michelin Chefs. Returning to the U.S. in 1992, he moved to San Diego, California, and joined the culinary teams at the La Costa Resort & Spa and at the Hyatt La Jolla Aventine. In 1993, he became the Executive Chef at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina on Harbor Island. During his off time, Steve fishes the offshore waters from San Clemente Island down to Ensenada and everywhere in between from his 25-foot Boston Whaler Revenge.