I went to the fish market yesterday looking for sea bass. I had never cooked with it before, though had enjoyed it a great deal in a number of restaurants (for $20+ per plate).
There it was, behind the glass case, for $14.99 per pound. I asked for 1/3 lb. of the fish, and to please remove the skin (very important to me). The woman behind the counter asked me if I wanted the thicker end of the fish, or the thinner end, closer to the tail. I told her I had no idea, and then told her I planned to saute it and serve with a citrus sauce. She decided to give me the thinner end.
She cut off a piece, which ended up weighing just under 1/2 lb. When I saw the size, I told her that was fine. The fillet cost $7.35. I was okay with that - especially since I know how good the stuff is, and how much it costs to have someone else make it for you.
Sea bass is really good! While you may think it looks like haddock ad probably tastes like it, it's so much finer than haddock. I have nothing against haddock, but it is truly inferior to sea bass. Sea bass, when cooked right, is moist and flakey at the same time. It's soft, but holds its shape. It tastes really good (did I mention that?).
Well, I was pretty upset when I opened the package today to make the fish and the skin was still on it. But I will say that it was a fine piece of fish. It had absolutely no smell to it and it was as fresh as could be.
Some people probably like the skin. I'm sure some people think it's pretty. But I want nothing to do with it. So I set out to remove the skin. Honestly, it wasn't that easy.
I have a pretty decent set of knives - Wustoff Trident knives that my brother bought us for a wedding gift. I used the boning knife to try to closely shave off the fish from the skin. But the skin didn't remove very easily and it wasn't the cleanest cut. Here's a picture of what it looked like. I think that if I had done a good job, there wouldn't be any fish flesh left on that skin.
While having a clean skin removal looks good, I wasn't upset with my hatch job just because of the looks - that fish is expensive and I didn't want to leave it on the skin. Oh well! Perhaps it will be easier next time.
Here's what the skin looks like on the other side.
My sea bass experience turned out to be really successful in the end. I chose a recipe for sea bass with a citrus butter sauce. Here's the final product, which I served with sauteed spinach.