Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass is a light, flaky, delectable fish entree made for special occasions. Serve this quick-cooking fish over arugula salad topped with Chimichurri sauce for restaurant quality flavor and presentation.
Pan seared sea bass is one of the easiest and quickest dinner recipes you’ll ever make. The trick to cooking this type of fish is to keep it simple. This pan fried sea bass recipe is perfect for even beginner cooks and get ready to WOW guests for any special occasion.
What Is Chilean Sea Bass?
Chilean sea bass is a delicate, white fish that’s light and flaky like halibut or cod, and absolutely scrumptious. Once you try sea bass, prepare to be, well, hooked! Depending on your location, sea bass might be hard to find at times but we get ours from Costco. It's on the pricey side, but totally worth every penny for special occasions.
Chilean sea bass is also a good choice if you're following current dietary guidelines when it comes to servings of low-mercury fish per week.
Chilean sea bass recipe ingredients
The most important thing to keep in mind when cooking this fish is that it requires minimal prep before cooking. This recipe keeps it simple: sea bass (skin on or off), olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can top it with a Chimichurri sauce (recipe below) or a simple lemon twist!
Can I leave the skin on sea bass?
Yes! Pan searing sea bass with the skin on adds flavor, texture, and nutrients galore. Rendering the natural fat in fish skin to make it crispy ... is downright delectable. We love this article by Hank at Honest Food about how to do it with any fish, and what fish skin you can or can't eat. Spoiler, sea bass is on the can eat list! If you're a fan of fish, game, hunting, and foraging, you need to get obsessed with Hank's work!
How to cook Chilean sea bass (pan fried)
Prep: Cut filet to size and allow to rest at room temperature 20 minutes.
Sear: Heat skillet with olive oil. Sear sea bass skin side down first until it releases (about 4 min). Flip and sear the other side until fish is opaque. I’m using a cast-iron skillet for this recipe, but any skillet works.
Serve: Serve warm any way you like! I love it over arugula salad topped with Chimichurri sauce (see recipe below).
This fool-proof sea bass recipe is so delicate and buttery. Fish should always be this easy and convenient! Believe me when I say this entree will take minimal effort on your part and require no special cooking skills! This recipe is simply foolproof, so don’t be intimidated!
How to know when sea bass is cooked
When the innermost part of the fish becomes white or opaque (not transparent) and is flaky, you’re right on the money! According to Seafood Health Facts, you should always check for an internal temperature of 145°F. This ensures that any parasites or pathogens have been destroyed.
Why Chilean sea bass can be pricey
Contrary to its name, sea bass aren’t harvested in Chile. Chilean sea bass are actually caught in Antarctica. It's named “Chilean” because the Chileans were first to market this Patagonian toothfish. The worldwide stock has declined due to over-fishing, driving the price for this delicate, oily fish up to extreme heights. Due to its high price, this fish is best served in the company of people who will appreciate it.
What does sea bass taste like?
Chilean sea bass is far from “fishy,” and has a rather neutral flavor. The texture is melt-in-your-mouth buttery and rich. The richness reminds me of scallops. Chilean sea bass has a mild flavor, so you can prepare it with any regional cuisine in mind.
What to serve with Chilean sea bass
Sea bass has versatile serving options. My favorite way to serve this delicious fish is over a balsamic arugula salad topped with Chimichurri sauce for a Mediterranean twist. You'll never go wrong with air fryer asparagus, air fryer mushrooms, kale salad, and of course, your favorite beverage.
More seafood recipes
Quick and easy dinners
- Greek Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs
- Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
- Juicy Oven Baked Chicken Thighs
- Easy Baked Chicken Leg Drumsticks
Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
- 1 lb. Sea Bass, skin on or off
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- pinch Sea Salt
- pinch Black Pepper
- optional ½ cup Chimichurri, see recipe footnotes
- 8" iron skillet (or any skillet)
- tongs or fish spatula
- Cut SEA BASS filet down the center to create 2 pieces (½ lb. each). Allow to rest 20 minutes at room temp to remove chill.
- Heat OLIVE OIL in skillet over medium-high until it reaches the smoke point.
- Place sea bass (skin side down) in the hot skillet. Sprinkle SALT and PEPPER over the filet.
- If you want crispy skin, press the filet down firmly with a spatula until it becomes visibly crispy. Turn the filet over and allow the non-skin side to sear until the filet is opaque throughout, reducing heat a notch or two as needed.
- Transfer the filet to a plate and allow to rest a few minutes.
- Serve sea bass warm with your favorite salad and side dish. Suggested: serve over salad greens topped with Chimichurri Sauce (see recipe in footnotes).
Traci's Recipe Tips
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.