Well, well, well, friends. Do I have a treat for you!
Happy Wednesday, how ya doin’? Good? Dandy? Swell.
Let’s get down to business.
Because I have a treat. for. you.
Last week, I had a gentleman friend over for dinner. And let’s be real here for a minute: sometimes you want to cook to impress. Ya feel me?
You pull out all the stops. Break out the nice dishes. And make dinner an event.
That was what I was workin’ with.
So. What do I make?
Only my go-to standby. My old trusty reliable. My never-let-me-down ole’ faithful….
Yep, I’m talking about sea bass.
The buttery, flakey, white fish that makes your eyes roll to the back of your head in delicious glory.
This particular night, we had black sea bass. Which was a thin fillet, compared to its cousin, chilean sea bass…which is a brick and is as tall as it is wide.
Both delicious, just different textures.
Any who – I made this with incredible roasted asparagus, and wild rice for him, and cauliflower rice for me.
And may I just say…the cauliflower rice stole the show! (I’ll include that recipe too!)
But the sea bass just melted in your mouth! Notes of crisp and fruity white wine, with fresh lemon and basil…it was truly remarkable!
Plus, it was gluten free, paleo, and Specific Carb Diet friendly!
Here’s What You Need: (Serves 2)
1 lb sea bass (1/2 lb per person)
1/4 cup good white wine (something you would drink)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of Red Chili Flakes (Optional)
1/2 cup wild rice
2 cups vegetable stock
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 bag of riced cauliflower (about 2 cups) – (or 1/2 head of cauliflower, riced in a food processor, or grated on a block grater)
1/4 onion, small dice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper
2 baking sheets
Sauce pan with a lid
Nonstick frying pan
Good chef’s knife
Nonstick tin foil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
First, get your wild rice cooking, as it takes the longest to cook. Bring 2 cups of liquid to a boil (I would highly suggest using vegetable stock — it adds an amazing flavor to the rice). Then add the rice, stir, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 45-60 minutes, partially covered, until the rice has absorbed the liquid and the grains have split. If, after 45-60 minutes the grains have split, and there is excess liquid, pour off the excess liquid and let cook uncovered for a few minutes until the liquid has boiled off. Then, fluff with a spoon, drizzle with olive oil, and season with more salt to taste.
While the rice is cooking, line your baking sheets with nonstick tin foil. Prepare the fish: lay out the fillets in a single line. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, and drizzle with 1/4 cup white wine. With the remaining 1/2 lemon, I like to cut very thin slices, and place a slice on top of each filet. You may also sprinkle each filet with a slight pinch of red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until the filets become opaque and begin to flake.
On the second baking sheet, place your asparagus stalks. Toss with olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (You can also add garlic powder if desired. I did not, as I like the flavor of unadulterated asparagus.) Bake for 20 minutes, turning the asparagus once halfway through. (This is an important step, as it allows for both sides to get golden brown and crisp-up.)
Finally, make your cauliflower rice, if making.
In a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 Tbsp EVOO. Saute your onions and garlic in salt and pepper for about 3 minutes until they soften. Stir in the dried basil to coat. Then add your cauliflower rice. Stir and let cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat until it becomes soft and almost creamy.
You can keep this on a very low heat until the rest of your meal comes together.
Put a mound of rice or cauliflower rice on the plate. Top with several stalks of asparagus. Top that with a sea bass filet. You can garnish with a lemon slice, or sprinkle with any fresh herbs you may have around, like fresh parsley, cilantro, or basil. I omitted that step, and kept the lemon garnish from the cooking process.
Usually, when I make sea bass, I stick to my mango salsa preparation — but WOW was this ever delicious!! There was SO MUCH FLAVOR from the white wine that allowed the buttery richness of the sea bass itself to really shine.
If you’ve never had sea bass, there is truly nothing quite like it. It is the “king” of the fish, if you ask me. It does not taste at all fishy. In fact, it tastes buttery. And it melts in your mouth. I kid you not – it is so rich, it tastes like a luxurious treat – which it is!
The asparagus — when flipped in the oven during the cooking process — has this incredible texture: it becomes almost crispy. The very center is still soft, but the outside has this nice golden brown, slight crunch from oven-frying in the olive oil.
But the cauliflower rice stole the show.
I think people think “cauliflower rice” and imagine some bland, mushy or gummy “blah” food that’s an excuse for a carb, and tastes about as good as shredded cardboard.
Let me assure you — this is a knock out.
It has the consistency of risotto – a creamy, soft, rice feel in your mouth. And it has this nutty flavor from the golden brown caramelization, and the undertone of rich and fruity olive oil. Plus that herby depth from the basil. I walk literally licking the bowl. It was so good. Even my non-SCD friend who could eat the wild rice, wanted more of the cauliflower rice!
And speaking of wild rice, I think it is the superior rice grain. There’s a nuttiness to it, and a very satisfying crunch from the split husk. Not to mention, it offers just this beautiful dark hue that makes food really stand out!
This meal was a winner winner, sea bass dinner! I can’t wait for you to try it!!
It’s easy enough for a week day meal, and yet elegant enough to make for a special guest!
Let me know how your culinary adventure goes!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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