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Smoked Chilean Sea Bass With Ponzu Sauce

Smoked Chilean Sea Bass With Ponzu Sauce 4.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post

Smoke Signals Aug 25, 2017

Thick, meaty fish such as Chilean sea bass takes well to a light smoke. To accompany it, this version of a Japanese ponzu sauce is tart with lime and lemon, brightening the smoke flavor.

You’ll need to soak 1 cup of apple or alder wood chips for an hour.

To read the accompanying story, see: Think you can’t get smoky flavors from a gas grill? Try this.

Make Ahead: For best flavor, the ponzu sauce needs to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours before serving, and preferably overnight. It can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Where to Buy: Dried bonito flakes and kelp are on the Asian aisle of most large supermarkets.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • For the sauce
  • 2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, (from 2 limes)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup dried bonito flakes (about 1/4 ounce)
  • One 3-inch piece of kelp (kombu; about 1 ounce)
  • For the fish
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered or granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds Chilean sea bass fillets, pinbones removed (may substitute swordfish, halibut or haddock)


For the sauce: Whisk together the rice vinegar, lemon and lime juices, soy sauce, mirin, dried bonito flakes and kombu in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight.

For the fish: Prepare the gas grill for indirect heat. Turn the heat to high. Drain the chips and put them in a smoker box or foil packet poked with a few fork holes to release the smoke; set it on the cooking grate, between the grate and the ceramic briquettes, or atop the angled metal heat plates, close to the flame. When you see smoke, reduce the heat to medium (375 to 400 degrees). Turn off the burners on one side.

Lightly oil the cooking grates on the indirect-heat side of the grill.

Combine the salt, powdered or granulated garlic and the cayenne pepper in a small bowl, then use some of it to season the fish (to taste). Place the Chilean sea bass on the indirect-heat side of the grill, close the lid and smoke for about 15 minutes, or until the fish is lightly bronzed and the thickest part of the fillet is barely firm to the touch. It should be moist inside.

Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 4 equal portions, dividing them among individual plates. Strain the sauce, discarding the solids; the yield is about 1 1/2 cups. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the ponzu sauce over each piece of fish. Serve the remaining sauce in a bowl on the table for use as desired. Serve.

VARIATION: For a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them on one side of the grill. For a medium fire, you should be able to hold your hand 6 inches above the coals for 6 or 7 seconds. Drain the chips and scatter them over the coals. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames.

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Recipe Source

From Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin.

Tested by Anne DiGiulio.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (with 8 tablespoons sauce and half the seasoning): 250

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 5g 8%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 95mg 32%

Sodium: 1500mg 62%

Total Carbohydrates: 8g 3%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 43g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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