Southern California and Baja California are areas known for their excellent saltwater delicacies, especially their distinctive sea bass populations. There are four sea bass species found in these waters at depths ranging from 100-500 feet deep. These include Goldspotted Sand Bass, Spotted Sand Bass, Parrot Sand Bass, and Barred Sand Bass, all of which are members of the Serranidae Family. Unfortunately we don't see much, if any, of these species sold in our restaurants or available fresh in seafood markets on the East Coast. Though tat's unfortunate for us, for experienced anglers and diners on the West Coast, it's a deliciously kept secret.
Fortunately, BlackSalt has been able to procure at least one of the species, Goldspotted Sand Bass, for the weekend dining enjoyment of our East Coast guests. The Goldspotted Sand Bass is renowned for having delicious, supple, moist flesh that is often compared to our native Black Bass and Red Snapper. The filets are a pinkish hue with a good fat content and it is best to leave the skin on when cooking due to its fine flavor when crisped. These fish are harvested from the cold, salt waters of Baja California by day-boat fishermen on small boats called pangas. The operation is very small in scale as fish are harvested daily by hook and line with little by-catch. This ensures that we are getting properly handled fish as soon as it is harvested, as fresh as possible.
If you want to try some fresh West Coast bass without having to buy a plane ticket, the Goldspotted Sand Bass at BlackSalt is a good place to start. The secret is out of Baja now and the Goldspot is in - or, should I say, on the menu!