You’re tucking in a repository of selenium and Omega-3 fatty acids as you fork through the harissa-stroked sea bass or crunch your molars on the tortilla-crusted fish, or even tuck in that limey pate. There is something about the sea bass, with its gleaming silver scales, that serenades your taste buds that makes it so attention-worthy as the other piscean cousins jockey for desperate visibility on the menu. Here’s the lowdown.
THE BASS NOTE
Ace chef Prateek Sadhu of Masque, Mumbai, minces no words as he explains the relative low popularity of the desi sea bass a la Bengali Bhetki, Keralite Kalanchi as opposed to the superstar status enjoyed by the Chilean sea bass (the rechristened Patagonian toothfish). “The popularity of the faux Chilean sea bass has a lot to do with the wildly successful marketing gimmick behind it,” he laughs. “Of course, it is a very accommodating fish that pairs well with a lot of flavours, but it really is just a very well-spun story. It is a classic case of lack of awareness. If people stop asking for Chilean sea bass—which they really should—and we were to start talking about Asian sea bass with the same passion, we could probably turn its fate around too. Though I am not biased—as long as fish is fresh and responsibly caught. We do use barramundi quite often at Masque. Bhetki too is a versatile fish to cook with—it is sturdy and not overly ‘fishy’, with a mild flavour that lends itself well to a number of our preparations.”
Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard