Buying seafood is not only expensive; it's hard. I stood in front of the seafood counter for ten minutes trying to zoom in on an appropriate substitute for halibut that was sustainable and wouldn't empty my bank account. I chose this Chilean sea bass because it was MSC certified and it was caught off the coast of South Georgia Island. The fact of the matter is that Chilean sea bass has been on the "avoid" watch list for a while, but this small fishery has changed its practices and now I can enjoy sea bass without guilt.
I was a little squeamish about the price, but it was well worth it. This dish was as good as any fish dish I've had at a restaurant. This says a lot because even though I'm usually happy with the fish I cook at home, I've never quite reached restaurant quality. This recipe does the job. The fish was creamy and contrasted nicely with the citrus and onion. The toasted hazelnuts gave it one more unexpected dimension in flavor and texture. It's a keeper.
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Blood orange salsa
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest (from one small oranage)
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 6 ounce sea bass fillets (the original recipe called for halibut)
3 tbs. olive oil
4 tbs. toasted hazelnuts, chopped
In a small bowl, mix the orange zest, thyme, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Rub the mixture all over the fillets. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering hot, arrange the fillets in the pan. Sear for about 2 minutes without moving; then use a thin slotted metal spatula to lift a piece of fish and check the color. When the fillets are nicely browned, flip them and put the pan in the oven. Meanwhile, toast chopped hazelnuts in a tiny bit of oil over medium heat. Toast them for about 1 minute or until they start to brown. Set aside.
Roast until the fish is just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the halibut to serving plates. Spoon some of the salsa over each fillet. Roast until the fish is just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the halibut to serving plates. Spoon some of the salsa over each fillet. Sprinkle toasted hazelnuts on top.