As I've embarked on this new endeavor of mine, I've learned that recipes are similar to life itself; they don't always turn out as you've planned. Even with careful preparation, the outcome can always be unexpected. This recipe for wasabi and Panko crusted Chilean sea bass was something I thought up while snacking on wasabi peas late one night. I felt pretty confident that the pungent tang of the wasabi would be a nice compliment to a delicate, flaky fish. My second thought was to offset the wasabi's piquant flavor with a sweet accompaniment. I wanted this dish to be centered around Asian flavors and maintain a healthy profile so I concocted a low-fat yogurt sauce made with honey, ginger, lemon, and soy sauce. I was pretty certain that the sweet and tangy flavor components of this dish would blend harmoniously.
Last May, on a whim, I decided to create a couple recipes to submit to Cooking Light with the ultimate hopes of winning the $20,000 prize (a pipe dream, sure, but hey, someone has to win!). Well, I learned pretty quickly that recipe development was quite a time consuming process, much to do with the trial and error procedure that is often necessary. So I guess it shouldn't have been such a surprise when my Chilean sea bass didn't turn out as I had hoped my first time around. Interestingly enough, the zing from the wasabi, the central flavor this dish was based upon, completely disappeared after being introduced to the heat of the stove. The fish was almost flavorless, an unexpected result that I found odd. So after a sufficient amount of research (and by that I mean googling), I found out that most of the taste in wasabi is really located in the vapors (the ones that sting the nostrils much like wasabi's close relatives horseradish and hot mustard) which can easily evaporate, causing loss of flavor- a decent explanation for the outcome of my sea bass.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is this: there is a learning curve involved with recipe development or even just cooking in itself. I still feel like my wasabi and Panko crusted sea bass is a winning dish, or at least that it has the potential to be- it just needs a few tweaks here and there. I debated on whether or not to blog about this particular culinary travail with all of you, however, I think it's important to share both the triumphs and tribulations I encounter here in my kitchen. I have some ideas in mind on how I can improve on this dish. I'm going to mark this recipe as a work in progress and I'll follow up with a second edition here in the near future. Stay tuned!