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Steaming fish by cooking it in a foil packet is just as simple as baking it, but without the worry of drying it out. In this recipe, steaming preserves the beautiful texture of black sea bass skin that you just don’t get with a pan-fry. Whole fish speak for themselves with presentation and the salsa in this recipe takes it the extra mile.
This whole black sea bass recipe is aromatic and punchy from the ginger, scallions and chili crisp. The bright tomato salsa balances the spicy, savory fish perfectly and the color contrasts with the black and white skin for a stunning finished dish.
Remove whole black sea bass from fridge and let it come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a sheet pan with tinfoil that doubles the length of the tray, enough to cover the tray and then fold over top. Place fish on foiled tray.
Slice scallions. Combine chili crisp, soy sauce and grated ginger and mix to combine. Evenly coat the fish with the mix and scatter the scallions over the fish. Pour an extra spoonful of chili crisp oil from the jar over top. Sesame oil works well too.
Fold the tinfoil over the fish to create a packet and press the edges together to seal the fish in. The edges should be completely sealed to ensure no steam can escape. Bake until fish is just cooked through, about 30-35 minutes. You will see the fish start to flake and the skin pull apart slightly.
Once fish is cooked to your liking (remember it will continue to cook after it’s removed from the oven), place whole black sea bass on a serving platter. Gently spoon salsa overtop and garnish with a handful of fresh scallions. Serve with steamed rice and leafy greens.
To serve the fish tableside, use two serving spoons to pull the top fillet away from the bones. The bottom fillet can be removed easily by lifting the central bone and taking the fillet from below. There’s plenty of meat up around the fish’s collar too. Don’t worry about removing the skin. Black sea bass skin is very thin, and you won’t notice it’s there.
While the fish is in the oven, make the salsa.
Combine sesame oil, soy sauce, chili crisp, ginger and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Quarter cherry tomatoes, slice scallions, and gently incorporate with the liquid mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.