Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Herb Butter Sauce

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This Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass recipe is such a simple, easy-to-make dish, 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! Serve over a bed of rice, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, or simply with a side salad – this premium quality fish truly shines with any side dish!

Pan seared Chilean Sea Bass on a plate with mashed potatoes drizzled with the herb butter sauce.

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • RESTAURANT QUALITY – With buttery texture and delicate flavor, you can enjoy this restaurant-quality and delicious fish in the comfort of your own home!
  • QUICK AND EASY – The simple recipe comes together quickly and the fish cooks up in less than 10 minutes in a hot skillet.
  • VERSATILE SERVING OPTIONS – It’s a quick meal for a busy weeknight yet fancy enough to serve for date night, Valentine’s Day, dinner parties, and more!

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass:

Ingredients needed to make pan seared Chilean Sea Bass.

INGREDIENT NOTES

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 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! I love using a blend of fresh basil, parsley, and chives.

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.

Raw Chilean sea bass on a cutting board with salt.

Step 2: Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place fish skin side down (if you choose to keep the skin on). Add lemon slices to the pan. Cook fish on one side for 3-4 minutes (time will really depend on the thickness of your fish).

Raw Chilean sea bass in a pan with lemons.

Step 3: Flip fish and cook 2-3 minutes more on the other side. If the fish is super thick, you can choose to flip it to brown on all sides if you like! Remove fish from pan and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Chilean sea bass cooking in a pan with lemons.

Step 4: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When butter is melted, stir in herbs and garlic powder. Cook for 15-30 seconds or until aromatic, stirring frequently so the butter doesn’t burn. Turn off the heat and stir in lemon zest.

A pan with the herb butter sauce.

Step 5: Pour butter sauce over fish and serve immediately.

A white serving dish with cooked Chilean sea bass with herb butter sauce and lemons.

RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS

  • Start with very dry fish. Pat the sea bass fillets with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. This will help the seasonings adhere and create a Maillard reaction (browning).
  • Non-stick skillet: I prefer a non-stick skillet to cook this delicate fish.
  • Cooking times vary based on filet thickness. For fish filets under 1 inch in thickness, 3-4 minutes on the first side over medium heat to create a crispy skin. Flip and cook for another 2-4 minutes until fish flakes easily or the internal temperature reaches 135°F.
  • Adjust cooking time for thicker filets. 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.

Don’t Disturb the Fish

Once the fish is in the hot pan, resist the urge to move it around until it’s time to flip. Let it cook undisturbed to get that golden brown exterior.

STORAGE & REHEATING

  • Storage: Store leftover fish in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Reheating: It’s best enjoyed right away, but 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.

SIMPLE SUBSTITUTIONS

Chilean Sea Bass: Sablefish (also called Butterfish) and halibut are both mild white fish that are good substitutes for Chilean Sea Bass. Regular white sea bass is also a great option.

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, and scallions also work great! Fresh dill always pairs well with any type of fish.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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 frigid cold 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.

Do you eat the skin on Chilean Sea Bass?

It’s perfectly safe to eat the skin of Chilean sea bass. Keeping the skin on also helps keep the fish nice and juicy. If 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 skinless too.

Is Chilean Sea Bass expensive?

It is compared to other fresh fish. At the time of this writing, the price per pound of Chilean Sea Bass is between $20-30. It’s expensive mainly because this species of fish is found in a remote area (near Antarctica), far from the shore.

What do I serve with Chilean Sea Bass?

I ALWAYS opt for creamy mashed potatoes! A green veggie side dish such as broccoli or green beans, sautéed kale or spinach are great. A nice orzo salad or light pasta dish also make excellent side dishes! White wine is a must if you’re a wine drinker as it complements the rich flavor of the fish.

PIN THIS POST FOR LATER!

Pinterest pin showing Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass on a bed of mashed potatoes.

I hope you love this Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Pan Seared Chilean sea bass on a plate with mashed potatoes.

Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass (with herb butter sauce)

This Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass recipe is such a simple, easy to make dish, 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!
4.97 from 32 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 817 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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)

Instructions
 

  • 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. Add lemon slices to the pan. 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 with the lemon slices 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!)

Notes

Note 1: You can mix up your fresh herbs! Cilantro, thyme and scallions also work great!
Note 2: It’s perfectly safe to eat the skin on 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. 
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Nutrition

Calories: 817kcalProtein: 52gFat: 67gSaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 223mgSodium: 863mgPotassium: 7mgVitamin D: 6µgCalcium: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Nutrition information is only an estimate. Info is based on the Very Well Fit Nutrition Calculator.

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Recipe Rating




25 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Such a yummy fish dinner! I feel like the herb lemon butter sauce really puts this dish over top and makes it so special. Yum!

  2. 5 stars
    I’m a big fan of sea bass and the simple herb butter pairs so well for a simple flavorful main. Yum!

  3. 5 stars
    This was everything a gourmet meal should be, and then some! Turned out tender, juicy and delicious; easily a new favorite recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    My husband had the best sea bass when we were traveling, and now we can make it at home. This recipe turns out just like the one he remembers

  5. 5 stars
    I made this sea bass for dinner last night and it was incredible! So full of flavor, it’s a favorite at our house!

  6. 5 stars
    This was so delicious! I always struggle to cook fish but I followed the recipe to a tee and it cam out perfect. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

  7. Love this so much, came out great! I originally made it for only my husband a few weeks ago since I’m not normally a fish eater, but I tasted his and liked it so much that this has converted me! I’m making it again tonight for us both! 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!
    One question, just curious – why do you suggest using garlic powder versus real garlic? Is real garlic too overpowering for a delicate fish? Thanks!

    1. Right?! I think sea bass can turn ANY non-fish eater into a fish eater! LOL! You can absolutely use fresh garlic, however, I wanted this recipe to be quick and if you use fresh garlic in the butter sauce, you just have to cook it longer so it gets nice and soft. If you don’t let it cook enough, it will be too strong tasting in my opinion! But feel free to do whatever you like! Make it yours, girl! XO ~ Casey

  8. I love food blogs. Thanks for taking out your precious time for collecting the best food blogs around the world in one place.
    Thats really helpful for all the foodies in the world.

  9. 5 stars
    This is an easy fish dinner to make for weeknight meals for my family! I have all the ingredients I needed.

  10. 5 stars
    I really struggle with cooking fish but this recipe came out PERFECTLY and my family loved it. Thanks for another great recipe! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    I love chilean sea bass but have been so intimidated to make it at home! This recipe was so easy to follow and a total winner!