Thyme Is The Best Way To Season Chilean Sea Bass Without Overpowering It

Whitefish occasionally gets a bad reputation for being bland and flavorless, but that's only if you don't know how to season it. Tasting Table recipe developer Kit Hondrum's Tender Chilean Sea Bass brings in different layers of flavor through its unique and intentional seasoning choices. One way Hondrum elevates the simple white fish is through the use of thyme. Hondrum explains that she selects fresh thyme for this dish because it "adds a subtle flavor that isn't too overpowering for this delicate fish." Fresh thyme packs a hearty herbal flavor that is lightly floral and earthy. It has also been described as having a slightly peppery, bitter flavor, which contrasts with the delicately sweet fish meat perfectly.

Hondrum's recipe calls for whole thyme sprigs, utilizing the flavor found in both the leaf and the herb stem, and incorporates the thyme taste by having it infused with the oil while the fish is cooking. This technique allows for the flavor of the herbs to become more developed, and cooking them down releases their strong aromatics, creating a more intense tasting experience. These flash-fried herbs are then included in the butter sauce made in the same pan the fish was cooked in. The final product is a delicate thyme flavor sprinkled throughout the dish.

Get creative with your herb usage

While thyme is the main herb used in this dish, you can opt to get creative with which herbs you choose to use. There are hundreds of different herbs to select and each one will bring out a unique flavor in the dish. You can even change up the type of thyme you use to create a new flavor experience. Lemon thyme is a variant of traditional thyme and can be found at specialty markets or farmer's markets. Lemon thyme has a strong lemony smell and a slight citrus flavor profile, making it complementary to the lemon used in the fish dish already.

You can also opt to use other herbs that complement the flavors of white fish such as tarragon or dill. Tarragon is another earthy herb that has a slight licorice flavor and is frequently used in French cuisine. Like thyme, you can use whole sprigs of tarragon in your pan. Meanwhile, dill is a more delicate herb than thyme and features small, frilly leaves that have a fresh flavor. Dill is also lightly licorice flavored. And since dill is considerably more delicate, you may opt to top your fish with fresh dill to maintain that herbal presence.