I recently traveled to Nashville with my friend Rita to visit her daughter, Calli, and Calli’s friend, Brandon. Calli and Brandon have a blast living in Nashville and we all love to head there for a weekend visit. They have an adorable house that’s not too far from downtown so it’s a perfect girls weekend getaway place. And the best part is that Brandon cooks for us. He is a creative and fabulous cook and we always look forward to any surprise meal we can get from him.
I love that so many young men are into cooking these days and not just on the grill, but really diving into creating their own masterpieces in the kitchen. Both of my boys like to cook and my son-in-law cooks as well. And I think it’s great for young couples to cook together. It’s a special bonding experience for a young couple and helps them learn how to navigate around each other and how to anticipate each other’s needs and work together.
We celebrated Rita’s birthday and Brandon cooked dinner for us…and wow! This young man is amazing in the kitchen. It was fun to just sit at the counter with a glass of wine and watch someone else work. Brandon put together a dish of sea bass and vegetables over jasmine rice topped with bean sprouts, and he did it in about 45 minutes after coming in from work. We were very impressed!
Brandon started with trimming the fish filets and removing the skin. He used sea bass for this recipe, but you could use any firm-fleshed fish such as halibut, cod, swordfish or salmon. Use a sharp knife and cut right underneath the skin to remove it.
After mixing a little sugar, red pepper flakes, and salt, he sprinkled the mix on both sides of the fish and then seared the fish on both sides in hot peanut oil. After searing the fish, Brandon removed it to a plate so he could cook the vegetables.
He tossed minced garlic and ginger into the skillet and sautéed for a few seconds, then deglazed with a splash of white wine.
Then everything else went into the skillet: coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce, carrot, green onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and lemongrass.
Brandon brought the vegetables to a simmer then added the fish back into the skillet and simmered all together for about five minutes.
That’s it! He plated everything into shallow bowls: rice, topped with a piece of fish with vegetables on top. Then he took the sauce from the pan (which we wanted to drink it was so good) and ladled sauce over the top. And of course he made it pretty and garnished with a sprig of cilantro and a lime wedge. It was an absolutely amazing dinner.
Thanks, Brandon and Calli!
In a Nashville Kitchen: Sea Bass with Vegetables
- 4 fillets Chilean sea bass 4-6 ounce, you can substitute another white fish such as halibut or swordfish, something with a hearty texture, 1-inch thick, no skin
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 2 tablespoons lime juice divided
- 2 cups cooked Jasmine rice
- 2 teaspoons peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp White Wine
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 carrot julienned
- 4 green onions coarsely chopped in 3-inch pieces
- 1 bell pepper julienned
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms shitake, enoki or shimeji
- 1 stalk lemongrass smashed and minced
- Lime wedges garnish
- In a medium bowl, toss together bean sprouts, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Set aside.
- Heat peanut oil in 3-quart saute pan on medium-high heat.
- Mix together sugar, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Sprinkle on both sides of sea bass.
- Sear sea bass about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate. Add garlic and ginger to pan and stir for thirty seconds. De-glaze pan with splash of white wine.
- Add coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce, carrot, green onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and lemongrass. Toss everything to coat.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add sea bass back into pan. (Move vegetables out of the way so fish can sit near the bottom of the pan.) Toss gently to coat.
- Simmer about 5 minutes. Prepare 4 shallow soup bowls with 1/2 cup jasmine rice in each. Gently place sea bass over jasmine rice. Divide vegetables over sea bass in each bowl. Ladle sauce over everything.
- Top with a small handful of bean sprout mixture. Garnish with lime wedge and touch of salt.