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Beautiful black sea bass deserves star treatment. Chef Fernanda sears the fillets until the skin gets crispy and only flips it over to briefly finish cooking on the other side. This helps preserve the fish so it doesn’t dry out and gives you that golden brown color.
Chef Fernanda pairs this mild fish with a bright and herbaceous black-eyed pea salsa (packed full of fresh ingredients such as bell pepper, mango, and basil) and chili lime rice that will become a staple in your meal rotation. The salsa involves a fair amount of chopping, but the end result is worth it. Chef Fernanda recommends making the salsa at least an hour in advance to let the flavors develop, but she says it is even better on day two.
Recipe by Chef Fernanda Tapia. Fernanda is an award-winning Boston-based private chef. You can follow Chef Fernanda on Instagram.
In a large bowl, combine bell peppers, jalapeño, red onion, mango, cilantro, basil, black-eyed peas, lime juice, and olive oil. Mix well.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Don’t be afraid to use a heavy hand with the salt.
This salsa is best when made at least one hour ahead to allow the flavors to marinate.
In a small pot over medium-high heat, toast the rice with the chili lime spice, salt and garlic cloves for 1 minute.
Add water to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
Cover pot and simmer on low for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat but keep covered for at least 5 minutes, or until ready to serve. The steam will finish cooking the rice to perfection.
When you’re ready to serve, fluff rice with a fork and adjust seasoning to taste.
Cut black bass fillets in half widthwise. Season fish with salt all over.
Heat oil in a large pan. When the pan is ripping hot, lay the fish skin-side down in the pan. Be careful, as the hot oil may splatter as you put the fish in the pan.
Cook the fish 90% on the skin side (about 10 minutes but it may be less depending on the thickness of your fish) and then flip the pieces to finish cooking for 1 minute.
Remove black bass pieces from the pan and set aside on a plate while you prepare to finish your dish.
To plate, spoon rice onto plates and top with a piece of black bass. Top the fish with the salsa and garnish with avocado slices, basil, and a sprinkle of chili lime spice. Serve with lime wedges on the side.