Chilean Sea Bass

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About

The Patagonian toothfish is a cold water ocean fish from the southern hemisphere, usually sold under the name Chilean Sea Bass. It has a bright white and flavorful flesh that is high in fat. Due to overfishing, the species is considered threatened and is avoided by many consumers as a result.

Information

Other names: Patagonian Toothfish, Chilean Seabass
Translations: Čīles jūras asaris, Čilės ešerių, Chilian Sea Bass, Čileanski Brancin, Chilê biển Bass, Sea Bass chilijskie, Chileense zeebaars, चिली के समुद्री बास, Robalo chileno, Чилийский сибас, Χιλής λαβράκια, التشيلي باس البحر, 칠레 농어, Chilský mořský vlk, Чилеански Лубин, 智利鲈鱼, Llobarro xilena, Čilenski Sea Bass, Čílsky morský vlk, Branzino cileno, הים הצ 'יליאני בס, Chilensk havsabborre, Laut Chili Bass, チリシーベース, Bar de mer chilien, Chilenischer Seebarsch, Chilenske Sea Bass, Chilenske Sea Bass, Lubina chilena, Чилійський Сібас, Chilen Sea Bass, Чилийски Лаврак

Physical Description

A large, vaguely cod-shaped fish with white meat.

Colors: White

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Mild
Mouthfeel: Meaty
Food complements: Bell peppers, Mushrooms, White rice
Wine complements: California chardonnay, Pinot grigio
Substitutes: Striped bass, Pacific halibut and sablefish (black cod)

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Smells fresh, eyes should be clear and glossy.
Buying: Generally no longer available due to overfishing. However, a small fishery exists that has made improvements in their fishing gear - to reduce seabird by-catch, 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).
Procuring: Slow-growing fish that reproduce late in life, Chilean seabass are naturally vulnerable to overfishing. The fishing methods used to catch these deep water fish cause more problems: bottom trawling can damage seafloor habitat, and miles of baited longline gear can fatally hook and drown endangered albatross and other seabirds. Since Chilean seabass live in remote Antarctic waters, law enforcement is difficult and large numbers of boats fish these waters illegally, without proper permits or gear. As a result, most Chilean seabass is fished unsustainably and should be avoided.

Preparation and Use

With its high fat content, Chilean sea bass is well suited to dry-heat cooking methods such as broiling, grilling, and sauteing. One variation on the last technique that shows up a lot on restaurant menus is searing -- cooking thick cuts in a hot skillet to crust the exterior and finishing them in a hot oven, where they cook by radiant heat as well as conducted heat from the skillet.

Cleaning: Remove bones and head, wash with cool, clear water and de-bone.

Conserving and Storing

Store wrapped in the refrigerator.

Social/Political

Most Chilean seabass in the U.S. market come from boats that are fishing illegally and using unmodified bottom long lines. This unmodified fishing gear hooks and drowns thousands of seabirds each year, most notably the endangered albatross.

Author

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