Black Sea Bass with Sweet and Sour Orange Rhubarb Sauce

Adapted from Gourmet (April 2006)

Make no mistake here – this is a meal for a day when you have a bit of time. Between sectioning the oranges to forcing the tender rhubarb through a sieve, this recipe takes a little while. I think you will find your efforts rewarded. The sauce is thick and sweet with just a hint of tartness from the rhubarb. If you can’t find black sea bass, you can substitute striped bass or tilapia.

  • 3 large oranges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound rhubarb, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced ginger (I used jarred)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-6 oz. black sea bass fillets with skin
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Remove the peel and pith of the oranges using a small, sharp knife. Over a bowl, cut the sections from between the membranes. Once you have removed all the sections, squeeze the remaining membranes to extract the rest of the juice from the orange. Pour off as much juice from the bowl as possible and set sections and juice aside.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes. Onions should be deep golden brown and softened.
  • Meanwhile, cook the rhubarb in a small saucepan over medium heat with the honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup of the orange juice. Stir occasionally and remove from the heat once the rhubarb is very tender, about 15 minutes. At this point, I forced the rhubarb through a sieve but found it to be too fine. I then used a colander with fairly slim holes to force more of the rhubarb sauce through. The result will be a smooth pink sauce that looks a bit like applesauce. Reserve the solids and see in the tips below for a suggestion (hint: easy, quick, relatively healthy dessert).
  • By this time, the onions should be golden and soft. Add the ginger and cinnamon to the skillet and cook for a minute. The mixture will be fragrant. Add the rest of the orange juice (I had about another 2 tablespoons left but if you have more, just add it at this time) and boil until thickened, about another minute or so. Stir in the rhubarb puree, tomatoes (with their juice), pepper and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • While the sauce is simmering, prepare the fish. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle the fish with salt, then place it skin side up in the baking dish. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until opaque and flaky. Remove from the oven. Be sure there are no bones in the fish before serving. Remove the skin.
  • To finish the sauce, add the orange segments and cook over low heat just until warm. Add the mint and taste seasonings, adding salt if needed.
  • Serve fish topped with sauce.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. The sauce was tangy and complex. There is also quite a bit of it, so you can spoon it on generously. We loved it on the fish, but also decided it would go nicely on chicken cutlets. I recommend lightly seasoning the chicken cutlets with kosher salt and pepper, then cooking them in a pan with a touch of olive oil. Top with the tasty sauce and enjoy!
  • 2. I always hate to throw away food. Instead of discarding the solids left over from making the rhubarb sauce, divide them into ramekins or a small baking dish, sprinkle with old-fashioned rolled oats, a little brown sugar, a pinch of salt, dried cranberries and a few broken pecans. Bake in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until edges are bubbly and top is lightly browned. You should have dessert ready by the time dinner is over. Voila!

Preparation time: 1 hour(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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