SHALLOW-POACHED SEA BASS
See also: Poaching 101
• 6 oz. chicken stock
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
• ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
• 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
• ½ teaspoon McCormick lemon-pepper seasoning
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• Juice and zest from half a lemon
• Salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
• 1 lb sea bass
Combine all the ingredients for the poaching liquid in a straight sided skillet, (known as a sautoir), with a lid. Bring the liquid to about 175-180 degrees. Add the fish and leave the lid slightly askew for some evaporation. Cook the fish until an instant read thermometer registers 140 degrees, turning it once halfway through the cooking.
I like to also spoon some of the liquid over the top of it as it cooks. Depending on the thickness of the fish this may take as much as ten minutes. You probably won’t need to reduce the liquid. Strain the liquid and pour it over the fish before service.
I strongly recommend you use a rather thick piece of fish. Standard fish fillets are too thin to use a thermometer and can be easily overcooked if you lack experience judging their doneness from appearance alone. With a good sized fillet and a thermometer the guesswork is eliminated and the fish can be cooked precisely. Overcooking will cause it to dry out and crumble.