Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass is a light, flaky, delectable fish made for special occasions. Serve this quick-cooking fish over arugula salad topped with Chimichurri sauce for restaurant quality flavor and presentation.
Pan seared Chilean sea bass is a restaurant quality fish entree you can make at home and WOW your people. When it comes to brunch, date night, or any special occasion, this rich and delicate filet is the perfect choice – even for beginners! It takes minutes to cook and minimal effort on your part, just like garlic butter grilled salmon and broiled salmon.
What is Chilean sea bass?
Chilean sea bass is a delicate, white fish that’s light and flaky like halibut or cod, with a buttery flavor and texture. Contrary to its name, sea bass are not harvested in Chile, but rather in Antarctica. It's named “Chilean” because the Chileans were first to market this Patagonian toothfish.
If you happen to follow dietary guidelines for servings of low-mercury fish, Chilean sea bass is an excellent choice.
What does it taste like?
Sea bass has a neutral flavor that's buttery and rich. It's so flaky and tender, it practically melts in your mouth. This sea bass recipe is purposely prepared with minimal ingredients and topped with a Chimichurri sauce (recipe below). You can use any sauce or enjoy it with a simple lemon squeeze.
Get the printable recipe below.
- sea bass - skin on or off
- olive oil - extra virgin compliments sea bass nicely
- salt and pepper
- Chimichurri sauce - optional topping (recipe below)
How to cook Chilean sea bass (pan fried)
This sea bass recipe is so enjoyable, even for beginner cooks, because it involves setting fish in a hot, oiled skillet and cooking it briefly on both sides. Here's how...
Cut bass filet to preferred size and rest at room temperature 20 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a skillet until shimmering. Place fish, skin side down, and sear until it releases from the pan (about 4 min). Flip the filet over and sear the other side until the flesh is opaque. I’m using my favorite cast-iron skillet for this recipe, but any skillet works.
Serve warm any way you like! I love it over arugula salad topped with Chimichurri sauce (see recipe below).
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! Just to be sure, always use a quick-read thermometer to confirm an internal temperature of 145°F to ensure any food borne pathogens are destroyed.
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.
Can I leave the skin on sea bass?
Yes! Pan searing sea bass with the skin on adds flavor, texture, and nutrients. Rendering the natural fat in fish skin to make it crispy is a next-level kitchen hack. Check out what Hank from Honest food blog says about eating fish skin and which ones can or can't eat. Sea bass is on the can eat list!
Why is Chilean sea bass so expensive?
The worldwide stock has declined due to over-fishing, driving the price for this delicate fish to extreme heights. Due to its high price, sea bass is best served in the company of those who truly appreciate it.
Date night dinner recipes
Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
- 1 pound Sea Bass, skin on or off
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- pinch Sea Salt
- pinch Black Pepper
- optional ½ cup Chimichurri, see recipe footnotes
- 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 Notes
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.