This pan seared Chilean Sea bass is quick to prepare and is just a great, healthy & flavorful dinner! You need very few ingredients to prepare this fish and you’ll have yourself a gourmet meal in less than half an hour.
Chilean Sea Bass
Chilean Sea Bass is a white, flaky fish known for its thick and delicious flesh. It’s usually very expensive to eat out so this is the reason I love cooking this fish at home. I was surprised to learn that this fish was originally known as Patagonian Toothfish.
Also, Chilean Sea Bass is different from Mediterranean Sea Bass (Branzino). Usually Branzino is served whole. It is thinner and tastes differently than Chilean Sea Bass. Chilean Sea Bass is usually served in thick fillets and is richer and more buttery in flavor. So if you have recipes for one or another of these 2 fish types, I wouldn’t use them interchangeably.
Check out my Baked Mediterranean Sea Bass (Branzino) dish for an alternative to this pan fried Chilean Sea Bass.
Tips & Notes
Here are some of my notes for this recipe. I have also added a short video to illustrate the instructions.
- Marinade – I marinate the fish shortly with garlic, salt and olive oil. Usually I let the fish absorb the flavors for 10-20 minutes while I am preparing the salad or setting up the table for my family. You can make the marinade more sophisticated by adding more flavors and spices.
- Pan – I used a cast iron skillet to sear this fish. Any non-stick skillet would work, use whatever you are more comfortable with. Start with medium heat and adjust from there.
- Oil – I love using either avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil to sear the fish. Use your favorite oil, don’t add too much of it since you’re not deep frying. Keep heat to medium.
- Garnish – I love keeping it simple, cilantro and lemon. You can also top the fish with a sauce of your choice. When I want to add some spice I do use this Peruvian Green Sauce to top the fish with.
- Cook thoroughly – you have to cook the fish thoroughly, usually with my stovetop and heat I use it takes 2 minutes on each side. So about 8 minutes in total (once the skillet has gotten hot). However, on some other stovetops it can take up to 4 minutes cooking each side. So try to adjust accordingly, either way you still will have a cooked meal ready in less than 30 minutes:). If you cut a fillet, you don’t want the inside of the fish to look translucent, it has to be all white. Also, cooking time depends a little on how thick the fillets are. For extra thick fillets, after searing on all sides I might add the cast iron with the fish for 5 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees. This is not necessary all the time.
See below all the ingredients I used for this dish. I love to keep the side dish simple to a big salad. But you can also add some cilantro rice or a carb of your choice besides the salad. This Garlic, Olive Oil Jasmine rice is a great side dish as well.
Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
- Cast Iron Skillet
- salad platter
- 4 Chilean Sea Bass fillets about 6 ozs each
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp salt (divided)
- 6 tbsps extra virgin olive oil (divided) 1 tbsp for marinade, 3 tbsps for skillet and 2 tbsps for salad
- 1 lemon
- 3 tbsps freshly chopped cilantro
- 1 romaine lettuce head
- 1 English cucumber
- 2 tbsps thinly sliced red onion adjust to taste
- 10 kalamata olives
- 3 hearts of palms
- Make sure sea bass is thawed (if previously frozen). Pat dry each fillet with paper towel. Crush garlic with half a spoon of salt and 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and apply the marinade evenly over the sea bass fillets. Let marinade (you can refrigerate if you need more time) for the time you need to make the salad.
- Add chopped romaine lettuce on a salad platter. Top with red onion, slices of cucumber, kalamata olives and sliced hearts of palms. You can add salt, 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice (from half a lemon) right before serving salad.
- Place cast iron or a non-stick skillet on the stovetop, medium heat and add 3 tbsps olive oil (or avocado oil), give it a swirl so it coats everything. Once skillet is hot add the fish. Let cook for 2 minutes and carefully flip each fillet using tongs. Sear again for 2 minutes and flip on the other side and repeat until fish has thoroughly cooked on all sides. You need the outside of the fish to be golden brown and inside all white (no translucent).
- Remove fish carefully once cooked on all sides. Place on a serving platter. Squeeze lemon over each fillet, garnish with fresh lemon slices and cilantro.
- Serve right away with salad and any side dishes of your choices. Enjoy:)
- This recipe as described with no additional side dishes is compliant with Mediterranean Diet. It’s also low carb and compliant with keto lifestyle.
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More Seafood Recipes
If you love seafood, check out some of my other seafood recipes:). Thank you!