"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life" is an old Chinese proverb. Give me a fish from ABC Seafood out on SE Powell Boulevard here in PDX, and I'll like a king for a night, and as long as ABC keeps in touch with those who do the fishing for them, the rest of my life looks pretty sweet!
I saw the following recipe for crispy sea bass in Mark Bittman's book "How To Cook Everything". I had never attempted to crisp a fish of any kind, so in the interest of broadening my horizons while at the same time satisfying my constant hunger, I headed out to ABC, where they had a perfectly fresh specimen that they thoughtfully cleaned and scaled for me, because as much as I like to play with my food, the idea of pulling out fish entrails and having fish scales flying around my kitchen wasn't too appealing. Besides, the woman at ABC did in about two minutes what would have been for me an endeavor that would have completely demoralized me while at the same time hacking apart this beautiful piece if piscine goodness.
So here it is. A very easy, satisfying dinner with no emotional trauma involved. Just the way I like it!
Crispy Sea Bass with Garlic-Ginger Sauce
From Mark Bittman's "How To Cook Everything"
Time: 30 minutes
Vegetable oil as needed
2 black sea bass, each about one pound, gutted and scaled with heads and tails left on (I used one 1-1/2# fish for the two of us, which was plenty- BB)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon peeled and minced or grated ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Minced cilantro leaves for garnish
1- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable oil to a depth of 1/8", more or less.When the oil shimmers, put the fish in it. Cook, undisturbed, for about 8 minutes on the first side. Turn carefully.
2- As the fish is cooking, heat the peanut oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until the garlic begins to color. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil and keep warm.
3- Cook the fish 6-8 minutes on the second side. It is done when the flesh offers little resistance to a knife or chopstick; if in doubt, peek next to a bone- the flesh should be opaque.
4- Remove fish to plate(s), drizzle with sauce, garnish, and serve immediately.