Snapper, rainbow trout, sea bream, saltfish and squid are all favourites of the Caribbean, particularly snapper. But for Chef Tee, the preference is always sea bass.
You will really have to approach this recipe with your chef’s hat on in order to gauge what is the best amount of seasoning to use. Tee’s marinade is different to shop-bought marinade, and depending on the time of the year, Scotch bonnet peppers are hotter, which creates more variables. With that in mind, try to give the fillets a translucent, even coating of marinade, that way you’re less likely to have pockets of fish that aren’t seasoned correctly.
2 x sea bass fillets, pin-boned and filleted (weighing about 120–180 g/4½–6 oz. each)
2 tablespoons Chef Tee’s Simple Jerk Marinade (see below)
1 teaspoon desiccated/dried shredded coconut
30 ml/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
A few fresh thyme sprigs
Juice of ½ lime
Making Chef Tee’s Simple Jerk Marinade
1 lime, cut into quarters
15 g/½ oz. fresh thyme
100 g/3½ oz. Scotch bonnet pepper
150 g/5 oz. onion, topped and tailed
125 g/4½ oz. spring onions/scallions, topped and tailed
40 g/1½ oz. garlic cloves, peeled, topped and tailed
30 g/1 oz. pimento berries
15 g/½ oz. black peppercorns
2 tablespoons table salt
60 g/2 oz. granulated sugar
10 g/1/3 oz. ground cinnamon
5 g/1 teaspoon cloves
10 ml/2 teaspoons soy sauce
10 ml/2 teaspoons brown malt vinegar
MAKES ABOUT 500 G/1 LB. 2 OZ.
Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse together to a smooth consistency.Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Note: If the blade sticks while you are blending, try adding water, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse until mixed.
Jerk Sea Bass
Check the sea bass fillets and remove any additional bones you find. Rub the Jerk Marinade and desiccated coconut all over the fillets to give a translucent, even coating.
Heat the oil in a shallow pan over a high heat to about 160°C/325°F if you have a thermometer. Otherwise, to check the oil is hot enough, flick a little water into the oil; if the oil spits back at you, it is hot enough to continue. Carefully lay the thyme sprigs in the pan and then lay the sea bass fillets, skin-side down, on top – this will ensure you get a crispy skin. When the fish begins to turn white, squeeze the lime juice over the top. You can flip the fish fillets, however it is best to leave it on one side during cooking to keep it intact.
Once the sea bass is fully cooked, after about 10 minutes, use a spatula to carefully lift it out of the pan and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with salad leaves and Lemon and Chilli Mayonnaise or Kale, Cabbage and Callaloo and plain rice.