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The Restaurant
at The Egremont Inn

South Egremont, Massachusetts

Specialty Recipe

Pan-Seared Chilean Seabass
with Shiitakes and Leeks

Chilean Seabass is found only in waters of the Southern hemisphere. Biologists insist that the fish should be called the Patagonian Toothfish because of its highly visible and extremely pointed teeth. The fish is, however, not a bass.

Chilean Seabass is a white-fleshed fish, has a firm texture, is slightly oily, and carries a full flavor. Most Chilean Seabass are gutted and beheaded prior to shipment to markets in the United States.

This sauce is a form of beurre blanc. The sauce is rich and wonderful and is regal enough for the seabass. A great combination.

7 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup leeks, rinsed and sliced to 1/8 inch
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup tomato concasse
(see Footnote Recipes and Techniques)
2 Tablespoons basil chiffonade
(see Footnote Recipes and Techniques)
1 cup dry white wine (we use Chardonnay)
1 to 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups curry flour (see Footnote Recipes and Techniques)
4 cups spinach, cleaned and loosely packed
Three 6-ounce portions of Seabass, skin on
Suggested Equipment
Medium saute pan
large saute pan
thin metal spatula or fish spatula
kitchen tongs
measuring spoons and cups
small cutting surface
sharp knife that is comfortable in your hand

Preheat oven to 500 degrees or as close as possible. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saute pan and add the leeks, sauteing over medium-high heat until they begin to wilt. Add 1 tablespoon butter and, when melted, add the shiitakes and let them begin to wilt also. Add tomato concasse and basil, tossing to mix well, then pour in the white wine and let reduce by 1/4, keeping the pan over medium-high heat.

While the sauce is reducing, heat a large saute pan over high heat until just short of smoking. Season the fish with a little salt and pepper and dredge in curry flour, patting off any excess. Put the oil in the hot pan, swirling to cover the entire bottom, and place the fish fillets in the pan, flesh side down. Sear the fish for under 1 minute until it starts to color. Gently turn the fish to the skin side down and place the pan in the oven to finish cooking. This step will take 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. The fish will begin to open and the flesh will be opaque. Seabass is meant to be cooked through. Keep a slight eye on the fish in the oven, gently shaking the pan periodically to keep the fish from sticking.

While the fish is cooking, enrich the sauce by adding 3 to 4 tablespoons butter, stirring and swirling the pan until the butter is incorporated into the sauce. Pull the sauce from the heat, holding it in a warm place until the fish is out of the oven. When the fish is finished cooking, remove from the oven and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes in the pan.

When you are ready to serve, you will need a minute or two to finish the sauce. Bring the sauce to a low simmer over medium heat, add the spinach, and let the spinach wilt. Add 1 more tablespoon of butter, easily stirring it into the sauce. Check for seasoning. Reheat your fish to hot, if necessary. Plate the fish, surrounding it with the spinach and shiitake sauce.

Note: If you are comfortable doing several steps at once, great. If you do each piece separately, don't worry -- you will not hurt either the fish or the sauce. Just 2 quick points:
1) Flour the fish just before you put it into the pan and
2) Don't add the spinach to the sauce until the fish is out of the oven and you are just about ready to serve.

Serving Suggestions: Mashed potatoes are our favorite with this version of Seabass, but a long-grain rice pilaf would be nice as well.

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