Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass Recipe – CucinaByElena

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Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass With Lemon Butter Herb Sauce- This melt-in-your-mouth, juicy, & flavorful pan-seared Chilean Sea Bass recipe is covered in a flavorful lemon butter sauce and seared to perfection. A delicious restaurant-worthy meal in under 20 minutes.

More seafood dishes you will love: Best Baked Salmon with Pesto Recipe (Easy)BEST Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter SauceClassic Lobster Bisque Recipe (Easy), Easy Spaghetti alle Vongole, and Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe.

pan seared Chilean sea bass on a platter with greens and lemon slices.
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Pan-seared sea bass with lemon butter sauce is a light meal with bright flavors. It is light, healthy, and a simple dinner idea highlighting simple cooking with bold flavors. It is an easy fish recipe for a date night or special occasion.

This is one of my favorite fish recipes! I love the mild and super tender taste and texture of seabass. You don’t need a knife to dive into this perfectly cooked, flaky fish. Enjoy!

Simple Ingredients

With a short list of ingredients, make sure you buy quality ingredients and, most of all, the freshest fish you can find.

ingredient shot for recipe
  • Chilean Sea Bass filets (4–6 oz each)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Butter, or ghee
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon zest 
  • White wine
  • Garlic clove or garlic powder
  • Fresh oregano roughly chopped
  • Fresh thyme roughly chopped
  • Whole Lemon, for serving

See the recipe card for quantities.

ingredient shot for recipe
pan seared sea bass on a platter with greens and lemon slices

This lemon butter sauce makes a perfect match for the delicate, mild flavor of the sea bass.

Whitefish, like Chilean sea bass, taste best when flavored with a simple sauce. While you can add more herbs and spices, it detracts from the natural and sweet flavor of the fresh fish.

Keep it simple like this BEST Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce.

How to Make Seared Chilean Sea Bass Recipe (step-by-step with photos)

You can use this simple cooking method with almost any type of fish. You’ll get a beautiful golden crust full of flavor and a flaky and tender interior.

season sea bass with salt and pepper on both sides.

Let the sea bass reach room temperature before cooking (take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior). Pat the sea bass dry with paper towels— sprinkle both sides with sea salt and pepper. 

How to make pan seared chilean sea bass process: searing the sea bass in a pan

In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, place the fish fillets skin side down (if using with skin) in the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes.

How to make pan seared chilean sea bass process: searing the sea bass in a pan

After 5 minutes, flip the fish and cook on the other side. Depending on the thickness of the fish, another 5 minutes, or until the fish is flaky and fork tender. When cooked, transfer to a serving platter and loosely cover with foil.

How to make pan seared chilean sea bass process: deglazing the pan after taking sea bass out of the pan.

Turn down the heat to low. Add the white wine to the skillet to deglaze, stirring any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue heating for about 1-2 minutes.

How to make pan seared chilean sea bass process: adding herbs and garlic to pan.

Add one more tablespoon of butter to the pan. Once it’s melted, add the minced garlic and fresh herbs and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

How to make pan seared chilean sea bass process: adding zest and lemon to pan

Turn off the heat and add the remainder of the butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and stir to combine until a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

How to make pan seared chilean sea bass process: finished sauce in pan.

Serve sauce on top of the fish. Garnish with extra herbs and lemon slices if desired.  

How to make pan seared chilean sea bass process: spponing sauce over cooked sea bass.

Substitutions for Chilean Sea Bass

Although the Chilean sea bass is the star of this recipe, you can use other fish. The lemon butter sauce is delicious with other fish. You can substitute the sea bass for other mild white fish.

  • Cod
  • Black Cod
  • Tilapia
  • Mahi-Mahi
  • Grouper

Variations for Seared Chilean Sea Bass Recipe

  • Lemon caper sauce. I love the briny flavor of capers with fish. If you love capers, try adding them to this recipe.

The skillet to use: I love cooking in a cast iron skillet. It distributes the heat evenly throughout the bottom of the pan and up to the sides. It’s naturally nonstick and super durable. 

FAQs

How do you know when Chilean sea bass is done cooking?

Your Sea Bass is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F (per USDA recommendations). Another way to tell if your fish is done is by testing it with a fork at an angle, at the thickest point, and twist gently. The fish will flake easily when it’s done and it will lose its translucent or raw appearance.

How is Chilean Sea Bass different than regular sea bass?

Chilean Sea Bass – is a Patagonian Toothfish, not actually a Bass fish, and lives in the waters around South America and the Antarctic. European Sea Bass – is a Bass found in European waters, such as the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea.

Is Chilean Sea Bass Healthy?

Like most white fish, Chilean sea bass is healthy and low-calorie. It is high in protein, selenium, and vitamin b12. Chilean sea bass is low in fat and contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

Why is sea bass so expensive?

Sea bass is one of the more expensive kinds of fish you can buy. The fisherman must sail out deep into the open sea to catch them. You pay for what you get and it is worth every penny for this delicate and beautiful fish.

What is Chilean Sea Bass?

Chilean Sea Bass is also called Patagonian toothfish or Antarctic toothfish. They live in cold waters like the Pacific, southern Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. The Chileans were the first to market toothfish commercially in the United States, earning it the name Chilean sea bass. It’s a white meat fish (think cod, lobster, and crab) that is extremely popular among seafood-loving diners.

Where to buy Chilean Sea Bass?

You can find Chilean Sea Bass at your local fish market or grocery store. If you can’t find it, ask your fishmonger, and he may be able to order you some.

How to buy the best Chilean Sea Bass

Ensure the fish doesn’t have any strong odors. It should have a mild and sweet fragrance. If there is any fishy smell, it’s usually several days old and not freshly caught. There should be no dry spots on the fillets and it should look firm and moist. After purchasing, cook it the same or next day. If you’re buying fresh fish, don’t free the fresh filets. Once thawed, the will not cook or taste the same.

What does Chilean Sea Bass taste like?

This fish is often recommended to those who dislike seafood with a strong “fishy” taste as Chilean Sea Bass is mildly sweet and buttery with a high fat content and a flaky texture.

Is there a difference between Sea Bass and Chilean Sea Bass?

No, they are the same thing. It’s often called Chilean Sea Bass because the Chileans were the first to market the fish (also called the toothfish) in the United States, even though it’s not actually a bass and it’s found in places other than Chilean waters.

Can this recipe be made in the oven?

Yes, this can be made in the oven but the texture of the fish will be slightly different and the sauce will not have the extra layer of flavor gained from deglazing the pan with wine.

pan seared Chilean sea bass on a platter with greens and lemon slices. Close up of fish on serving platter. Seared edges.

What to Serve with Chilean Sea Bass

This delicate sea bass recipe is the perfect main dish for several side options! Make Roasted Green Beans Recipe with Garlic and Lemon or Best Italian Oven Roasted Potatoes and Easy Soft Italian No Knead Bread with a side of Italian Fennel, Citrus, Pomegranate and Salad and Steamed Asparagus.

Make a surf and turf dinner with these recipes- How to Cook Steak in a Pan (Perfect Recipe) and How to Cook a Small Prime Rib Roast Recipe.

If you want to serve appetizers, try Hot Mascarpone Spinach Artichoke Dip or Italian Stuffed Zucchini (vegetarian)!

Don’t forget dessert! Best Brown Butter Apple PieClassic Italian Tiramisu Recipe (Authentic), or Creamy Frozen Lemon Bars with Graham Cracker Crust.

pan seared sea bass on plate with roasted potatoes on plate with green salad.

Top Tips

  • Buy good quality sea bass. Since this is the dish’s highlight, ensure it is good quality for the best results.
  • Pat fish dry with paper towels to avoid moisture while cooking. We want to sear the sea bass and not steam it!
  • Let the fish set out to almost room temperature before searing. This will ensure even cooking and prevent the interior from being undercooked while the outside sears. Sear the fish at a high temperature.
  • Make sure your pan is hot. Putting fish into a cold pan won’t develop a crispy sear and will not have the texture you want.
  • Don’t overcook the delicate sea bass, or it will be tough. We want a nice flaky fish.
pan seared sea bass on plate with roasted potatoes on plate with green salad. Piece of fish on fork ready to eat.

This Pan Seared Sea Bass with Lemon Butter Herb Sauce is a 20-minute, one-pan meal everyone will love!

pan seared sea bass on plate with roasted potatoes on plate with green salad. Piece of fish on fork ready to eat.

Storage and Reheating

  • Fridge – Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
  • Freezer – Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months. 
  • Reheating – Reheat in the microwave, oven, over the stove, or even in the air fryer. 
pan seared sea bass on plate with roasted potatoes on plate with green salad. Bite taken out of flaky sea bass fish.

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Chilean Sea Bass Recipe

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5 from 2 reviews

Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass With Lemon Butter Herb Sauce- This melt-in-your-mouth, juicy, & flavorful pan-seared Chilean Sea Bass recipe is delicately covered in a lemon butter sauce and seared to perfection. A delicious restaurant-worthy meal in under 20 minutes.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 Chilean Sea Bass filets (46 oz each)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter or ghee divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup good quality white wine
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Let the sea bass reach room temperature before cooking (take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior). Pat the sea bass dry with paper towels— sprinkle both sides with sea salt and pepper. 
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, place the fish fillets skin side down (if using with skin) in the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. After 5 minutes, flip the fish and cook on the other side. Depending on the thickness of the fish, another 5 minutes, or until the fish is flaky and fork tender. When cooked, transfer to a serving platter and loosely cover with foil.
  4. Turn down the heat to low. Add the white wine to the skillet to deglaze, stirring any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue heating for about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add one more tablespoon of butter to the pan. Once it’s melted, add the minced garlic and fresh herbs and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the remainder of the butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and stir to combine until a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  7. Serve sauce on top of the fish. Garnish with extra herbs and lemon slices if desired.  

Notes

Top Tips

  • Buy good quality sea bass. Since this is the dish’s highlight, ensure it is good quality for the best results.
  • Pat fish dry with paper towels to avoid moisture while cooking. We want to sear the sea bass and not steam it!
  • Let the fish set out to almost room temperature before searing. This will ensure even cooking and prevent the interior from being undercooked while the outside sears. Sear the fish at a high temperature.
  • Make sure your pan is hot. Putting fish into a cold pan won’t develop a crispy sear and will not have the texture you want.
  • Don’t overcook the delicate sea bass, or it will be tough. We want a nice flaky fish.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Savory

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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