Chilean Sea Bass with Apple Lacquer

September 4th, 2010

Apple Lacquered Chilean Sea Bass

Apple Lacquered Chilean Sea Bass over Savory Fennel-Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

with Asparagus, Spaghetti Squash and Apple Beurre Blanc

Chilean Sea Bass has been a “hands off” fish for a number of years due to sustainability issues.  But now Seafood Watch reports that there is a sustainable option for Chilean Sea Bass which I hope to utilize occasionally.

I am working on a new dish for an up-coming event and need a small appetizer or large amuse bouche item.  I thought I would kill two birds at once and develop an entree version as a fall menu item as well.  Here is my entree version.  The amuse bouche version will not include the asparagus, squash or beurre blanc, but will include smaller versions of the Bread Pudding, Chilean Sea Bass, Apple Lacquer and something for a garnish.

Apple Fennel Butternut Bread PuddingThe dots in the Beurre Blanc are drops of the Apple Lacquer.  The dark specs on the Chilean Sea Bass is parsley which I should have spread more evenly and chopped a little finer.  I love the lattice or fan design of the asparagus.  I used the spaghetti squash to cover the bottoms of the asparagus, thus giving more “flow” and balance to the design.  There is some thyme in the bread pudding, so I used thyme as a garnish.  The savory bread pudding is exactly that… savory, not sweet like a dessert bread pudding.  I designed it as an accompaniment, and as a way to get “elevation” on the plate.  A key component of plate composition is “elevation”.  Of course, when the Chef asks for elevation on the plate, the cooks will usually make some unsavory suggestions!

Still Life Bread Pudding ingredients
Had to show you my Shun Chef Knife!!  Love it!


Savory Fennel-Butternut Squash Bread Pudding
2 Cups Fresh Rustic Bread cubes 1) Toast bread cubes until golden brown in oven.  Cool to room temp.  Reserve.






Shallots, mincedWhole Unsalted ButterCelery, diced

Fennel, diced

Butternut Squash, 1/4″ dice

2) Sweat






Fresh ThymeFresh BasilFresh Parsley

Garlic, minced

3) Add & sweat.  Cool, reserve.
11 CupEach Half & HalfEggs 4) In separate bowl, make custard.  Reserve 1/4 cup, add remaining to bread cubes.  Add above ingred., mix.  Let stand 10 minutes for bread to soak in custard.
21 TblCup Parmesan, gratedDried Apple, diced 5) Add, fold into mixture.6) Place mixture in ramakins or muffin tins which have been sprayed w/ pan spray.  Add reserved custard if needed.

Bake in 350 degree oven until done.


Apple Beurre Blanc
1  Tbl Shallots, sliced 1) Sweat
2  Tsp Unsalted Butter
1/2  Cup Granny Smith Apples, cored,   peeled, chopped
1/4  Cup Apple Juice 2) Add, reduce au sec
1/4  Cup White Wine
1/4  Cup Apple Jack Brandy
1/4  Cup Heavy Cream 3) Add, reduce to consistency (by about 2/3)
8  Oz Unsalted Butter, chilled, cubed 4) Add slowly, whisking constantly over low heat.
2-4  Tsp Honey 5) Add TT
Pinch Sea Salt


Apple Lacquer
 216  TblOz Black PeppercornsApple Cider Vinegar 1) Reduce in non-reactive pan to 3-4 oz, strain.
 23-44  CupsOzOz Apple Juice ConcentrateCider Vinegar ReductionHoney 2) Add, reduce by half.
Thicken to the consistency of maple syrup with Clearjel or Cornstarch slurry.
 Pinch Sea Salt 3) Finish TT


Apple Lacquered Chilean Sea Bass
6PinchTT Each 7 oz portions Chilean Sea BasParsley, mincedKosher Salt 1) Season and sear top & bottom of bass.Add Apple Lacquer to top of bass.  Bake for several minutes, add more Lacquer, bake until done (about 130 degrees), add more Lacquer.Plate and serve!


My recipe style disclaimer:   I have decided to leave my recipes in their original format rather than convert them to standard cookbook language.  Recipes written for a professional kitchen use different verbage than recipes written for cookbooks.  Professional kitchen recipes assume that the cooks have a solid understanding of culinary terms and techniques.  My recipes are written in this “Chef’s Shorthand”, meaning that clear culinary terms are used for procedures where possible.  This cuts down on a lot of extra words and makes for quick reading in the kitchen.  For instance, most cookbooks will have the following phrase for cooking onions, “in a pan over medium heat add oil and cook onions without caramelizing until translucent”.  In Chef’s Shorthand this entire phrase is replaced by “sweat onions”.  That’s it, short and sweet!  And it means exactly the same thing.If you are a professional cook, or have been to culinary school, then you should be familiar with most of the terms.  If not, then please use our dictionary link for the terms you are unfamiliar with and enjoy learning something new!  Or post a question, I’d love to respond.


Comments from before Site Migration

Add a Comment!

DAVID BUCHANAN    [ Sep 06, 2010 ]

Kurt, thank-you for your kind comment.  And for your conscientious comment about the sustainability of Chilean Sea Bass, I should have added info re: it into the post.  There is some Chilean Sea Bass which is considered sustainable.  Here is a quote from the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch program’s page on Chilean Sea Bass:

“… a small fishery exists that has made improvements in their fishing gear – to reduce seabird bycatch, and in their management plan – to end overfishing. In March 2004, the South Georgia Patagonian Toothfish Longline Fishery was certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

Since only a small portion of the Chilean seabass available in the U.S. is MSC certified, consumers must be very careful. Each location that sells MSC products, including all restaurants and grocery stores, are required to have the MSC “Chain of Custody” certification. Legitimate purveyors should be able to produce this document when asked and, without this proof, consumers should assume the fish in not certified and shouldn’t make the purchase.

KURT MICHAEL FRIESE []    [ Sep 06, 2010 ]

Your recipe looks delicious, though I hope your readers will consider doing it with a better choice of fish, such as sable.  Chilean Sea Bass is an extremely endangered fish harvested in very unsustainable fisheries.  For more information on it and many other endangered fish, as well as good, sustainable alternatives, please visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program

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