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Roasted Striped Sea Bass with Sage and Brown Butter

Thanksgiving is a traditional meal — turkey, mashed potatoes, and you gotta have that green bean casserole that’s been in the family for generations — but Friendsgiving? Especially during times when social distancing and small gatherings are the norm, it’s the perfect time to start a new tradition! Why roast a big ol’ turkey and cook all day when you can order fresh fish, have it delivered the next day, and serve a spread that will satisfy all stomachs bellied up to the holiday table!

Roasted Striped Sea Bass with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter will be a tradition that will grow with the size of the gatherings as we heal from a pandemic.

Prep Time:  10 minutes  

Cook Time:  35 minutes  

Yield: 2 whole (6 to 8-ounce) Pacifico Striped Bass, gutted and gilled

Serves:  2 – 4

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Ingredients

  • 2 whole (6 to 8-ounce) Pacifico Striped Bass, gutted and gilled
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup fresh sage leaves
  • 2 cups fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley, and sage)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 each oranges, lemons, grapefruits, or combination, sliced in ¼-inch rounds
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

In cold water, rinse the Pacifico Striped Bass, pat dry, and set in a shallow baking dish. Coat fish with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and rub each fish, inside and out, with a hearty pinch of salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity of fish with slices of citrus and the two cups of fresh herbs.

Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large cast iron pan or large heavy-bottomed, oven-proof skillet, set on the stove, and heat on high.

Place stuffed fish in the pan when oil is hot. Add two tablespoons of butter, swirl in the pan, and place in the hot oven.

Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 120° F on an instant-read thermometer, or the fish is opaque and easily flakes apart with a fork.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate. Tent with foil to keep warm while finishing sauce.

Return pan back to stove and turn burner to high. Heat butter in a pan and cook until the butter turns golden brown. Turn heat to low, add the sage, walnuts, and cranberries cooking until sage starts to crispen. Finish by stirring in lemon juice and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the sizzling brown butter sauce over the fish. Serve with Santa Monica Seafood’s Pumpkin Ravioli and sauteed vegetables.

Rad Tip:
When serving fish, plan a pound of fish per person, though three-quarters of a pound will do if you’re serving it in the context of a multi-course meal.

Fish filleting 101:
Make a diagonal slit behind the head and then along the top side of the backbone, and then make another diagonal cut before the tail. Next, gently run a table knife along the bones and lift off the top fillet, keeping the crisp skin intact. Set the first fillet aside and check for any small bones that may be stuck in the flesh. Pick up and discard the entire skeleton along with the head and tail. It should all stay together. Now, run the knife between the flesh and the skin of the bottom fillet and discard the bottom skin that did not crisp upon cooking. Again, check for stray bones.