Exotic Seafood Countdown #20: Sea Bass.

The term “sea bass” is probably too generic for a list like we’re compiling here. There are many kinds of sea bass, found all over the world. However, sea bass is not especially common on Louisiana menus and tables. And only two species are likely to show up here: striped bass and black bass, which are similar and excellent. When fish wholesalers are looking for Carolina speckled trout in the Louisiana off-season, sometimes they get sea bass, too.

Striped bass is a great eating fish–a favorite in its home waters along the Atlantic coast. It’s a nice size for meatiness–two or three feet long. Its texture has the meatiness of a grouper, but a much better flavor and more fat. In addition to the clean, off-white fillets, you get cheeks of edible size from a whole sea bass. If you’re very lucky.

You can cook sea bass many ways. It’s a great one for roasting whole. Good sauteed with butter and a flour coating. Excellent broiled. I’ve never tried poaching it, but I’ll bet that’s wonderful with hollandaise.

If you ever run into striped or black bass, order it. It’s a rare treat.

This is today’s item in a countdown of unusual seafood found on menus around New Orleans. Included are both species from faraway waters, and local fish and shellfish that we don’t find very often in restaurants or markets.

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