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Chilean Sea Bass: All You Need to Know

The next time that you arrive at your favorite chain seafood restaurant, take a moment to look for Chilean Sea Bass on the menu. This interesting and paradoxical fish has been in-and-out of seafood fads for the better part of the past 50 years. Commonly known as Chilean sea bass, and other times referred to as the Patagonian toothfish, we don’t blame anyone for being a bit lost.

There is plenty of confusion surrounding the fish, so let’s take a moment to clarify some essential information!

Chilean Sea Bass 101: A Closer Look at the Patagonian Toothfish

First things first, we need to take a moment to fully understand what the Chilean Sea Bass actually is. If your first thoughts upon hearing the name of this fish were of South America, sunny shorelines, and dedicated fisherman, we wouldn’t blame you. With that being said, an incredibly small minority of Chilean Sea Bass are sourced from the coast of Chile. In fact, most Chilean Sea Bass is wild caught in the Southern Oceans.

Here are a few key pieces of information that you should lock in about Chilean Sea Bass and their natural habitat.

  • Chilean Sea Bass were wildly unpopular until a branding change in the late 70s.
  • The Chilean Sea Bass sold by Northern Chef has been certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
  • Chilean Sea Bass are commonly found in colors ranging from gray to brown.
  • Females can produce almost 500k eggs during the spawning season.
  • The Patagonian toothfish feed on crustaceans, pelagic fish, and several cephalopods.

A Unique History and a Special Name

Known officially as the Patagonian toothfish, this fish can weigh over 100 pounds when fully grown, though the average weight is closer to 20 pounds. 

So why do we call the Patagonian toothfish a Chilean Sea Bass? The answer is predictably unpredictable. The story starts in 1977 when a fishmonger came to realize how delicious the Patagonian toothfish actually was. Revered for its tender, white meat and high oil content, the fishmonger saw that shoppers were staying away from the fish due to its ugly name.

It’s true! There once was a fish so poorly named that people didn’t even want to eat it and the rest would end up as history.

Before we delve further into our analysis of the Chilean Sea Bass, let’s take a moment to highlight a few of the key nutritional benefits that this fish can provide.

  • High Levels of Vitamin D to improve Skin and Hair
  • Plentiful Source of Protein
  • Boost Your Omega-3 Fatty Acid Consumption

Catching the Chilean Sea Bass / Patagonian Toothfish

Chilean sea bass are typically relegated to deep waters throughout the southern ocean and near Antarctica. Originally discovered off the coast of Chile, these fish would get their first chance at commercial marketing in the United States. Once captured at sea, Chilean sea bass is typically frozen and processed while still on the ocean. These frozen fish are then pshipped to the United States and around the world for commercial sales. 

The actual process of capturing Chilean sea bass includes affixing hooks to long lines that are behind fishing boats. This is a long-lived fish that does not reach its sexual maturity until it is at least 10 years of age. This means that we need to put a real focus on acquiring Chilean sea bass from sustainable sources to prevent overfishing from ruining the species.

Tips For Cooking With Chilean Sea Bass

Considered one of the tastiest fish in the sea, Chilean sea bass can offer a ton of flavor in a relatively affordable and healthy package. These fish are known for their oily nature as well as their flaky, filling fillets. As one of the ‘top dollar’ fish on the market, it can be hard to find Chilean sea bass and even harder to cook them properly.

Chilean sea bass can be prepared in several different ways. Whether you love to grill, bake, or pan-sear, the option will be available to you. Before you start filleting your new favorite fish, consider a couple of the following tips while you cook your meal.

  • Moderate the Oily Nature – Some people love oily fish and others hate them. Meet in the middle by properly patting your Chilean Sea Bass dry before coating the fish with seasoning.
  • Consider Baking For Flavor and Health – There are few better ways to enjoy delicious Chilean Sea Bass than through baking. Baking your fish will prevent the excess loss of Omega-3 Fatty Acids while also retaining your Vitamin D content.

Bake frozen portions uncovered at 400°F for about 28-30 minutes. Alternatively, grill frozen portions (typically skin side down if skin on) on MEDIUM-HIGH for about 28-30 min. Fish is ready to eat when it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145°F. It is difficult to overcook this fish, and it would take excessive heat abuse to dry out the fish.

  • Consider Sustainable Sources – Chilean Sea Bass are a slow-growing and quick-harvested fish. Consider purchasing your next sea bass from a sustainable source.

Superior Seafood From the Sustainable Team at Northern Chef

Tai Foong USA is one of the leading suppliers of frozen seafood as well as Asian cuisine in the United States of America. Since its founding in 1958, Tai Foong has been dedicated to providing sustainable and affordable high-quality seafood products to clients throughout the world.

The Northern Chef brand under Tai Foong USA is revered for its satisfying flavors, sustainable sources, and easy cooking nature. Shop certified sustainable chilean sea bass from Northern Chef today.