Seared Seabass
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April 2007

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fish, Seafood & Caviar

Recipe: Seared Hazelnut-Crusted Sea Bass

With Curried Roasted Shallot-Tomato Sauce

From Chef Peng S. Looi, Asiatique Restaurant, Louisville, Kentucky


One of our favorite categories of food is fish, prepared with a Pacific Rim flair. This recipe is special enough for company, but also a treat for the family on a regular night. Serves 12.



  • 12 pieces, 8 ounces each, fresh center cut seabass fillets
  • ¼ cup quality Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup lightly roasted hazelnuts, crushed
  • ½ cup Japanese panko (Japanese bread crumbs)


  • 2 cups baby bok choy stems, julienne
  • 1 cup red pepper, julienne
  • 1 cup yellow pepper, julienne
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger-garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 12 cloves shallot, peeled and roasted in light butter
  • 12 whole tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons Indian curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Beet greens, garnet amaranth, purslane or other colored microgreens to garnish (or use watercress sprouts or beet curls)



  1. In a non-reactive shallow pan, mix Cajun seasoning and olive oil. Place fish fillets in pan and mix well. Set aside in refrigerator for 4 hours.
  2. Mix crushed roasted hazelnut and panko in bowl. Place 3 fillets in bowl to coat with dry mixture evenly. Add oil to heated skillet. Place coated fish and sear each side for about 4 minutes for medium well, or shorter for more rare fish. Repeat procedure for all remaining fillets.


  1. In a heated sauté pan, add 1 teaspoon oil and ginger-garlic mixture. Add all vegetables and seasoning.

  2. Stir, remove while still crunchy.


  1. In a deep saucepan, add 1 tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt. Introduce roasted shallot and tomato. Then add sugar, curry powder and paprika.

  2. Stir for 5 minutes and add dry white wine. Simmer in low heat to reduce by 15% volume.

  3. Liquefy mixture in blender and return to sauce pan. Bring mixture to simmer and add hazelnut oil. Turn off heat and stir in small pieces of unsalted butter. Salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Place sautéed vegetables in center of a 12-inch dinner plate. Ladle 2 ounces of sauce around the vegetables.

  2. Place 1 piece fillet atop vegetables and top with a bright-colored microgreen. Serve immediately.

Malaysian-born chef Peng S. Looi is the co-owner of Asiatique in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1987 he partnered with Mimi Ha-Dabbagh to open what was soon to become the award--winning August Moon Chinese Bistro, featuring Chinese cuisine with the South East Asian influences that reflect his ethnic background. Looi and partner partner Pabs Sembillo opened his second restaurant, the upscale casual Asiatique, where he serves his innovative and artful interpretation of Pacific Rim dishes.
Peng S. Looi
Chef Peng S. Looi


Recipe and recipe image courtesy of New Asian Cuisine. © All rights reserved. Additional material © Copyright 2005- Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved.  Images are the copyright of their respective owners.