A Fresh Take on Sea Bass

Couscous, cucumber, and radish put a new spin on sautéed fish
Photograph by Joe Vaughn

Derik Watson, chef de cuisine at Iridescence in the MotorCity Casino Hotel, describes his style as modern, world-influenced cooking. It’s contemporary American with French technique. This recipe showcases the fresh, clean flavors he prefers.




Sautéed Asian Sea Bass

With beet-infused israeli couscous, roasted radish, and sliced cucumber. Note: Halibut may also be used. (Serves 4)

For each serving:

  • 2 cups beet juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 4 8-ounce portion Barramundi (deboned, skin removed)
  • 4 cello radishes, quartered
  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium saucepan, bring the beet juice and water to a boil. Add the couscous and cook for about 10 minutes or until couscous is tender and has taken on the beet color. Remove from heat; strain through a colander. Cool and reserve couscous.

In a medium saucepan, add minced garlic and shallots, along with 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil, and begin to cook over medium heat. Sweat the vegetables until soft and translucent. Add the wine and thyme sprig and reduce until 3/4 of the liquid has been diminished.

Add the heavy cream and lemon zest and continue to reduce by half. Once reduced, set heat to low and slowly start to whisk in the butter, adjusting the temperature so the butter does not separate and the sauce stays emulsified. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. The sauce should not be separated and should have a nice acidity to it from the lemon. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Combine cooked couscous with sauce and warm gently over low heat.

In a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan, bring the vegetable oil to medium-high heat. Season fish with salt and pepper and place them in the hot oil. The skin (top) side should be facing up. Sauté about 3 minutes on each side or until the fish is just cooked through.

In a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of vegetable oil and the cello radish. Caramelize the radish on each side. Once a little color has been achieved on the radish, add a tablespoon of butter to coat the radish generously.

Cut cucumber into 6-inch logs and, using a mandoline, slice the cuke into sheets no more than 1/8-inch thick. Shingle them onto a plate; season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Place cooked fish atop seasoned cucumber. Add the cooked radish and finish the plate with the couscous-beurre blanc mixture.

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