Sea Bass with Garlic Tomato Salsa (Ca Chien Sot Ca Chua)

I've been making a strong effort to serve fish for dinner more regularly. So seeing these filets of sea bass on sale at the local market today queued me up for tonight's dinner. This is what I call a modern twist to the Vietnamese "Ca Chien" or fried fish.  I also have a fondness for tomatoes and so creating a warm garlic tomato "salsa" to accompany the fish really brings it to another level in making this dish more balanced with the sweetness of the tomatoes, and not to mention the beautiful colors on the plate. And to add something green to my plate, I included some sauteed snow pea leaves. I hope you'll make this dish soon. It's among my favorites!

seabass and tomato sauce
These filets are perfect size for pan-frying.

These filets are perfect size for pan-frying.

seabass dinner

RECIPE for 4 servings.

4 (6 oz each) filets of sea bass, skin on
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning fish
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning fish
3 garlic cloves, minced
3  large tomatoes, diced, with skin on
1 small bunch of basil,  rough chopped
Cooking oil

1. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Remember to thaw the filets to room temperature before frying.
2. Set frying pan on high heat. Add 2 tbs cooking oil. Fry fish 1 or 2 filets at a time, so not to overcrowd them, for 3 mins per side. Remove from pan to rest them.

3. Using the same pan, add 1-2 tbs cooking oil. Add in garlic and saute for about 1 min then add in tomatoes. Cook tomatoes for 5-7 mins on high heat. Add 1 tbs sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Add in basil at the last min. Turn off heat.
4. Serve the sea bass with steamed white rice and a generous side portion of warm tomato salsa.