This Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass recipe is such a simple, easy dish to make, but it’s amazing enough for special occasions! This mild, flakey fish is topped with a decadent herbed lemon butter sauce that’s restaurant-quality, but comes together so quickly!
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WHAT IS CHILEAN SEA BASS?
First off, #spoileralet, it’s NOT bass….or even SEA BASS. “Chilean Sea Bass” is a white fish and another name for the patagonian toothfish and the Antarctic toothfish. This fish lives in the cold, frigid waters in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans near Antarctica.
Actual sea bass from CHILE, is not readily imported to the United States and should not be eaten, according to the Marine Stewardship Council.
#TMI. All you really need to know is that Chilean Sea Bass is a delicate white fish that is absolutely delicious!!
If you aren’t a fish LOVER, this pan seared Chilean sea bass recipe might change your mind!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- A restaurant quality meal that’s easy to make at home!
- Fish cooks up in less than 10 minutes!
- Delicious served with mashed potatoes!
- Great for date night, Valentine’s Day, dinner parties or….
- Quick enough for a weeknight meal, too!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass:
Chilean Sea Bass: Most chain grocery stores will carry Chilean Sea Bass, but it’s not ALWAYS available. Higher end stores (like Whole Foods or Nugget) usually carry it year round. I buy mine at fresh at Costco. It is an expensive fish, which is why people opt to enjoy it on special occasions.
Herbs: Fresh herbs work best. Opt for fresh over dry herbs for the herbed butter sauce!
HOW TO MAKE PAN SEARED CHILEAN SEA BASS: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Pat fish dry with a paper towel, then season with sea salt or kosher salt.
Step 2: Melt olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat. Place fish skin side down (if you choose to keep the skin on). You can place lemon slices in the pan, too if you wish! Cook fish on one side for 3-4 minutes (time will really depend on the thickness of your fish).
Step 3: Flip fish and cook 2-3 minutes more on the other side. If you fish is super thick, you can choose to turn it and brown in on all sides if you like! Remove fish from pan and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Step 4: Melt butter in a small saucepan. When butter is melted, stir in herbs and garlic powder. Cook 15-30 seconds, stirring so butter doesn’t burn. Turn off the heat and stir in lemon zest.
Step 5: Pour butter sauce over fish and serve immediately.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Cooking times for the fish will vary a bit based on how large your filets are. 3-4 minutes on the first side (over medium heat) is usually perfect unless the fish is over 1 inch in thickness. Flip and cook on the other side until fish flakes easily or reaches an internal temp of 135°F (this is usually about another 2-4 minutes).
- If your fish is very thick (the filets in the photos are about 1 inch thick), you can choose to turn the fish a few times to ensure all sides are seared.
STORAGE & REHEATING
- Storage: Store fish in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Reheating: You can reheat this fish at 50% power in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes OR on the stove over low heat. The lower heat ensures the fish doesn’t dry out.
Here are some substitutions for:
Chilean Sea Bass: Sablefish (also called Butterfish) and Halibut are both mild tasting white fish that are good substitutes for Chilean Sea Bass.
Herbs: I think the combo of parsley, basil and chives is delish, but you can mix up the herbs however you like! Use your favorite fresh herbs. Cilantro, thyme, scallions also work great!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
It’s perfectly safe to eat the skin of Chilean sea bass. Keeping the skin on also helps keep the fish nice and juicy. It you start cooking skin side down, it’s easier to turn the fish, too! However, you can also choose to remove the skin and cook the fish that way too.
It is compared to other fish. At the time of this writing, the price per pound of Chilean Sea Bass is between $20-30.
It’s expensive mainly because it’s found in a remote area (near Antarctica), far from the shore.
I ALWAYS opt for creamy mashed potatoes! A green veggie side dish such as broccoli or green beans, sautéed kale or spinach are perfect. A nice orzo salad or light pasta dish would also be excellent!
White wine is also a must if you’re a wine drinker as it complements the rich flavor of the fish.
OTHER SEAFOOD DISHES YOU’LL LOVE
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Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass (with herb butter sauce)
- 1 lb. Chilean Sea Bass, cut into 4 filets
- 1 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
- 3 tbsp butter, divided salted or unsalted
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp EACH: chives, parsley and basil, finely chopped See Note 1
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 lemon (1 tsp zest + more for garnish and to squeeze over the top)
- Pat fish dry with paper towels and season with salt. Pro tip (optional): Let the fish sit out of the fridge about 15 minutes and come to room temperature before cooking. This makes it easier to get the fish cooked all the way through, quickly!
- Over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter + 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet (If you are new to cooking fish, I recommend a non stick skillet. If you are a seasoned pro, use your favorite pan!).
- To the hot pan, add fish, skin side down. Do not disturb fish for 3-4 minutes. This will ensure crispy skin (See Note 2).
- Flip fish and cook 2-4 minutes on the other side. Note that cooking times will vary depending on how thick and large your filets are. If your fish filets are thick like mine, you can also turn them to get the sides of the fish seared as well. The fish is done when it's opaque in the middle and flakes easily with a fork. You can also use a thermometer and look for an internal temperature of 135°F.
- When fish is done, transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- In a small saucepan, melt remaining 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, add garlic powder and herbs and cook 15-30 seconds, stirring to ensure butter doesn't burn. Turn off the heat and stir in lemon zest.
- Drizzle herb butter over fish, squeeze lemon juice over the top (if you like) and serve immediately! (It's great served over mashed potatoes!)
Nutrition information is only an estimate. Info is based on the Very Well Fit Nutrition Calculator.