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Miso Hungry - Sea Bass with Miso Butter

Anthony Bourdain was known to eat some of the most crazy (and often icky) foods from around the world, and said that nothing was ever “off the table.” I’m certainly no Bourdain, and there are quite a few things that are “off the table” for me - monkey brains and bull penis soup from Asia, for instance. But some ingredients I will only partake of on the rarest occasions - either for health or humane reasons - like foie gras and Chilean Sea Bass (Patagonian Toothfish). This is one of those occasions.

Chilean Sea Bass is absolutely my favorite non-shell fish. It’s buttery, flaky, and very satisfying. But it can be extremely high in mercury, and depending on where it’s sourced, there are often terrible by-catch issues, like those actually sourced from Chile.

Try to find a Sea Bass with the MSC logo for MSC- the Marine Certified Fishery stamp of approval.

Wegman’s does have some sea bass with this distinction. With this fish, farmed is often the better way to go, oddly.

This recipe has few ingredients and is quick to cook.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 tablespoons white miso paste

black pepper

1 teaspoon grated ginger

2 filets of sea bass or thick, moist white fish

1 cup Jasmine rice

1.5 cups chicken stock or water

3 carrots, chopped fine

1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped fine

2 tablespoons ghee or butter

handful of chopped chives or scallions


Take the fish out of the refrigerator and pat it dry. Lay the filets on paper towels and salt them on both sides.

Rinse your rice to get rid of any dirt or debris (This also lessens the starchiness). In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon ghee on medium heat and add the shallots and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the stock into the saucepan and bring it to a boil.

Add the rice, reduce the heat to low and put a lid on the pot. The rice should take about 18 minutes to cook.

While the rice is cooking:

Heat the oven to 350.

In a cast iron skillet, add the second tablespoon of the ghee and heat to medium.

Add the filets to the skillet and sear on each side 3 minutes for 1.5” thick filets, 5 minutes each side for thicker filets. Mine were quite thick, so they took 5 minutes on each side and 5 minutes in the oven.

My filets had no skin, but if your does, you can cook them the same way. The crisped skin is delicious.

Mix well in a small bowl the butter, ginger, pepper and miso. It won’t completely emulsify and that’s ok.

For each serving, mound a bit of the rice on a plate, top with the fish and spoon some of the miso butter over top.

Fresh chives are in my garden now, so I chose to use them to top the dish, but scallions would work just as well.

Much better than monkey brains (one might imagine).

Experts say a pale ale would pair well with this, but I’m not really a beer drinker.

Try the Sonoma Loeb Private reserve Chardonnay if you prefer wine. If not, talk to Justin at Jessop’s Tavern in New Castle and see what pale ale he would recommend.

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