Yesterday, I was so bored that I thought I might go cross-eyed. So what do you do during a pandemic for entertainment? Turn going to the store into a quest and treat yourself to the freshest seafood you can find.
Turns out, my little trip to the store scratched the itch because I returned home with a whole fresh sea bream and a better attitude. I reveled in the kitchen with my fillet knife in hand, doing my best to separate each fillet from bone; my cat was the beneficiary of this activity as he gobbled up a few scraps.
Since it’s been so hot here, I opted to pan-sear the fillets in a bit of olive oil. To accentuate the freshness of the fish, there’s fresh parsley and little salty, briny pops of flavor from capers and green olives; I love the way the meaty texture of Castelventrano olives compliment the fish.
To top everything off, I quickly pickled some red onion slices using just lemon juice, zest, and salt which really moved the entire fish into restaurant quality territory.
No exaggeration, everything from the cook of the fish to the olive sauce is sensational. I feel confident that this is one of the all time best fish recipes you will ever taste.
What does sea bream taste like?
Chefs adore sea bream for its purity of flavor; it has an incredibly clean taste and satisfying meaty texture. In the fine dining restaurant where I used to work, we served sea bream as an appetizer lightly torched with lemon infused olive oil, and we sold out every night.
How to Cook Sea Bream Fillets
Sea Bream has large scales that should be removed. Ask your butcher to do this to save yourself the mess. Once the scales have been removed, the skin crisps up nicely when seared in a hot pan. You can substitute scaled sea bass or tilefish.
For best results, pat the fillets dry with a paper towel before pan frying to get skin that crisps up like potato chips. Please note that sea bream fillets will begin to curl from the heat and lift away from the pan in the center; gently press the fish down with a spatula while searing the skin so the center area makes direct contact with the heat.
Top Tips for Cooking Fish Perfectly
- Wait for the oil to get hot before placing the fillet in the skillet. You will see a little wisp of smoke rise from the surface of the oil when it’s ready.
- Cook skin side down longer to get a crispy texture.
- Since cook time is variable from one fillet to the next depending on thickness, use your eyes to determine doneness. Fully cooked fish is opaque and flaky, but still very moist.
- Always season fish before cooking for the best possible flavor; fresh fish needs little more than salt and pepper.
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