John Hammond’s Chilean Sea Bass

There are phrases uttered in classic movies that will forever make an impression upon us. Jurassic Park is chock full of phrases that have been repeated, printed and made into gifs. One of those lines is one in which John Hammond excitedly exclaims (post raptor chow down of course),

“Alejandro’s prepared a delightful meal for us. Chilean sea bass, I believe.”

After the late Richard Attenborough uttered this line in the 1993 classic it was rumored that stocks of Chilean sea bass became depleted to the point of being declared endangered. Food sustains our lives but it’s also a powerful tool as can be seen with the depletion of Chilean sea bass. Additionally, if something is mentioned in a popular movie that sounds good, it tends to make an impact with audiences. This is one of the motives behind product placement and it explains why it is so prevalent in movies nowadays but let’s leave that for another post.

Up until Jurassic World was finally released, we only had the brief visual of the waiter setting down the meal in front of Ellie. I could only take a calculated guess at what the yellow sauce may be, were those spiralized sweet potatoes or carrots, crispy or steamed? The website is a promotional website for Jurassic World and to my excitement under the visit then eat tabs is a “view menu” box for the fictional Winston’s Steakhouse. Under chops, steaks and seafood are none other than the infamous Chilean sea bass. The menu states that it includes “cherry tomatoes, french green beans, lemon jus, and crispy sweet potatoes.” Just like that, I have all the answers to my questions.

For this recipe, I didn’t purposely seek out Chilean sea bass because it is still overfished and thus hard to find outside of a nice restaurant. Since Chilean sea bass is actually a type of cod I decided I would use cod for this recipe but when I went to purchase the cod a sign for Chilean sea bass caught my eye. The second thing that caught my eye was “wild caught,” I was scared to even look at the price and when I did I was right to be scared. At $32.00 a pound, I knew I wasn’t going to buy that big a piece. I opted for an extremely small piece that set me back $18.00. Knowing the piece was too small for two people, I also stopped at my parent’s house to pick up a few pieces of black sea bass that they caught themselves while fishing in the Atlantic Ocean.

With the fish bought and in my fridge. I began early preparations by steaming the frozen green beans, cutting the cherry tomatoes in half, spiralizing the sweet potatoes, zesting one lemon and juicing that lemon. I put all of this aside until I was actually ready to cook.

Since the menu called for crispy sweet potatoes I put them into a bowl with a lid and poured 1 tablespoon of olive oil over top with a few dashes of garlic powder, paprika, pepper, and 2 pinches salt. I shook them until they were all coated. I poured them onto two foil lined pans and baked them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes turning halfway.

While the sweet potatoes were cooking I dried the fish with paper towels and seasoned them with salt and pepper. On medium heat, I sautéed each side for 3 minutes in olive oil. I put the fish aside and in the same pan, with the drippings, I sautéed 1 garlic chopped for a minute in 3 tablespoons salted butter. I poured in a 1/4 cup of dry wine. After 2 minutes I poured in the juice from 1 lemon, the zest and a 1/4 cup chicken broth. I added a dash of salt and pepper and let it simmer for 5 minutes on low heat.

I plated the fish and poured the lemon jus over top the fish. I placed the sweet potatoes in a heap with the cherry tomatoes around the edges and the green beans between the fish. Unfortunately, two pieces of black sea bass fell apart while cooking so it isn’t the prettiest plate.

My final verdict:

The Chilean sea bass melts in your mouth, it was smooth and paired beautifully with the lemon sauce I made. Likewise, the black sea bass paired well with the sauce and while delicious it wasn’t as melt-in-your-mouth as the Chilean sea bass. It was actually extremely easy to make, with the fish only taking three minutes a side and the to die for sauce taking seven minutes, I could see myself making this on the weeknights. The longest part of recreating this recipe was the spiralized sweet potatoes. To spiralize, season and cook them the process can take some time. I would rather pay the extra money and buy them pre-done or omit them all together in favor of actual frozen organic sweet potato fries.

I’d like to try this recipe again with using just the Chilean sea bass cut flat. Since I chose such a small piece, the cut was extremely awkward so cutting it like the above photo was completely out of the question. I would also possibly try to make a crust or a light breading on the fish as the above photo looks to be encrusted lightly.

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