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Family Central: Fancy Family Fish “Fry,” Tex-Mex style

The first time I had sea bass was in San Francisco more than a decade ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I had never had any fish close to the buttery, delicate flavor I enjoyed that night, especially with the Asian influence of the marinade and glaze. I was hooked.

Over the years, I have experimented with Chilean sea bass, trying all kinds of ethnic and local flavors to see what I like best – and of course what my family will enjoy too! Thankfully, my teenage sons have been raised from day one to try new food at least once when asked, and now they enjoy lots of different dishes many kids their age won’t eat.

Being the Tex-Mex food lover that I am, I wasn’t sure if a fish like sea bass would be a good match with something salsa-style, but one weekend night I had some homemade tomatillo salsa leftover from the night before and decided to try it over our fish. One thing led to another and I ended up dredging the fish in polenta, almost like you would think of doing when you fry some good ol’ East Texas catfish, but just a little bit fancier perhaps.

If you’re in a hurry, FRESH has some wonderful tomatillo salsa ready to serve in the prepared dip bar, and the tangy profile of tomatillo and lime make it a perfect accompaniment to your family fish “fry.”


Chilean Sea Bass with Tomatillo Salsa 


6 tomatillos
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1-2 serrano chiles, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
3 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper


1/2 cup cornmeal or polenta
Cracked black pepper, to taste
4 (6 oz) Chilean sea bass (or red snapper) fillets
Sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Garnish: Lime wedges

For the salsa, heat a large heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Add tomatillos and roast, turning occasionally, for 15 minutes or until softened. Remove to a plate to cool. When cooled, quarter the tomatillos and process in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

In the same skillet, add olive oil and heat to medium heat. Add corn and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from heat and add to puréed tomatillos. Stir in remaining salsa ingredients. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

For the fish, spread polenta or cornmeal on a plate and sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Season fish with sea salt and dredge fish fillets in cornmeal or polenta. Cook fish until lightly browned and opaque; about 4 minutes per side.

To serve, transfer fish to plates, top with salsa and serve with additional lime wedges.

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