In our hotel, I have removed all currently overfished species from the menu to help play a part in using only sustainable fish. Our local white sea bass fishery here in Southern California represents a success story similar to the Atlantic striped bass and the redfish over on the East Coast. Inshore gillnetting was banned back in 1992 which has allowed the local white sea bass populations to rebound to the healthier levels they are at today.
When we have receptions with assorted stations, the whole fried fish is always a hit. We do it two basic ways. The first is an Asian style where the fish is served with a seaweed salad, a spicy yuzu dipping sauce and cucumber-carrot salad. the second method is a more American style where the fish is served with a lemon-artichoke pesto, California slaw that is mixed with a light vinaigrette and an herbed remoulade.
Whole Fried Fish
50% AP Flour
50% Corn Starch
Your favorite seasoned salt mix
To prep the fish you will need to scale it, thoroughly clean it out and rinse it good to make sure all scales are removed, then score down the side five times. This will help the fish cook a bit quicker as the oil can penetrate easier during frying.
Mix all dry ingredients together and dredge the whole fish in the flour mix. Make sure you get the dredging mix in all of the scores, the mouth and body cavity. Go heavy on the mix as much of it will fry off.
Preheat a large pot of oil to 375 degrees and then carefully place the fish in the oil and deep fry the fish for 10 minutes, then gently turn the fish over and fry it another 10 minutes. Get someone to help turn the fish over if needed as you will be dealing with a lot of hot oil. Depending on the size of the fish, you may need a lot of help to lift the fish out of the oil by using large, long flat spatulas and even pizza spatulas. Your main goal is to keep the fish whole for presentation.
Place the fish on a sheet pan and then bake until the internal temperature hits 145 degrees.
Place the fish out on a carving board set up with heat lamps on both sides. The seaweed salad can be bought at any Asian store or most reputable seafood vendors. Here are the other recipes:
Shredded Red & Green Cabbage
Sliced Red & Yellow Peppers
Pre Bottled Asian Dressing-We use a Miso-Mustard Dressing
Rice Wine Vinegar
Mix all ingredients well a few hours before service and let drain, place in bowl & serve.
Yuzu-Soy Dipping Sauce
1/2 Cup Sweet Eel Sauce
1/2 Cup Yuzu Sauce
1/2 Cup Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
1/2 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Sweet Mirin Wine
1 Tbsp. Hot Vietnamese Chili Paste
Mix all ingredients together the day before and serve cold.
1 pound Canned Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Drained
1/4 Cup Chopped Garlic
2 Ea. Grated Lemon Zests
2 Ea. Juice from 2 lemons
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Fresh Chopped Basil
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Italian Dressing
Salt & Freshly ground Pepper
In a food processor or with an immersion blender, grind the artichoke hearts, lemon zest, garlic, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and basil together. When the mix forms a puree, drizzle in the olive oil and Italian dressing. Season with S&P and serve cold.
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Italian Dressing
1 Tbsp. Chopped Garlic
1 Tbsp. Chopped Shallots
1/4 Cup Chopped Dill Pickles
Chopped Herbs: Basil, Chives, Thyme
Mix all ingredients well and serve cold.