Chilean sea bass

Other Names: Antarctic cod; austromerluza negra Spain); austromerluzzo nero (Italian); bacalao de profundidad, mero (Latin America); colin antarctique, légine antarctique or australe (French); icefish; marlonga negra (Portugal); ookuchi (Japanese); Patagonian toothfish; patagonische ijsvis (Dutch); schwartzer seehecht (German); sort patagonisk isfisk (Danish). Nototheniidae.

General Description: Chilean sea bass (Dissostichus eleginoides) is a South American fish originally known as Patagonian toothfish, renamed to increase its market appeal. This large, slow-growing species is a member of an unusual family of fish found only in the Southern Hemisphere. Far less plentiful now because of overfishing, this slow-growing fish has also been decreasing in size. Many are caught by illegal pirate fishermen, who take fish that are less
than eight years old, before they begin to reproduce. The high oil content makes this firm, bright white fish grill beautifully. Handle carefully so the fillets, sold skinless, do not fall apart. The fish is richly flavored, so avoid heavy sauces.

Locale and Season: The fish are caught off the coasts of southern Chile and South Africa. Those from Chile tend to be larger. March to July is the slow season.

Characteristics: Chilean sea bass have large pectoral fins and the glassy sunken eyes of a deep-water dweller. Most are
gutted and headed before they are shipped to the United States and are usually frozen. Average market weight is about 20 pounds. Both raw and cooked meat are bright white with rich, melt-in-the-mouth flavor. It is usually sold as skinless steaks or fillets, which need minimal trimming, if any.

How to Choose: Defrosted fillets should be shiny and resilient. Frozen fillets should not have any freezer burn or
discoloration. Many restaurants and home cooks are choosing to pass on this fish to conserve depleted stocks.

Storage: Store up to 2 days refrigerated.

Broil, bake, braise, or sauté. The fish is too oily for

Suggested Recipe: Lemongrass-Crusted Chilean Sea Bass (serves 4): Process together 1/2 cup sliced shallots, 1/4 cup sliced lemongrass, and 2 tablespoons sliced ginger to a chunky paste, then add 1/4 cup cilantro and process again. Stir in 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/2 cup sesame seeds, and 1 cup panko. Pat 4 fish fillets with the mixture. Bake at 425°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish flakes.

Flavor Affinities: Basil, chives, cilantro, garlic, ginger, lemon, lemongrass, lime, mango, miso, olive oil, orange, sesame, shallot, soy sauce, tarragon, tomato, white wine.

from Quirk Books: