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Chilean sea bass with lemon, dill & caper sauce

10 votes, average: 4.30 out of 510 votes, average: 4.30 out of 510 votes, average: 4.30 out of 510 votes, average: 4.30 out of 510 votes, average: 4.30 out of 5

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SKILL LEVEL :
Easy and quick

How to Cook Chilean Sea Bass

Preheat your oven to 450ºF and then heat some grapeseed oil in an oven proof skillet on a high heat. Dry the Sea Bass thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. Sear the fillets for about 3 minutes on each side, turning once, until you get a crispy golden crust on each side. Transfer the pan to the hot oven, roasting the Sea Bass for about 5 minutes until it is just cooked through. Plate the fish, drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with fresh dill.

Sear on the stove & finish in the oven

Ever have perfect Chilean sea bass in a restaurant, with a crispy crust and buttery smooth insides? Maybe a light sauce draping the filet? You would be amazed that this fish is one of the easiest ways to cook fish at home. It is essentially prepared the same way I make my Bacon-wrapped filet mignon or my Rack of lamb. You sear it in a hot pan on the stove and finish it in the oven. It all comes together, including the sauce, in under half an hour. This recipe is a modified version of a recipe published by Straubs grocery store.

Flexible technique

Once you have the pan-searing, oven-finishing technique down for cooking thick-cut fish, you can experiment with different fish and a variety of sauces. Try using this technique for preparing halibut. Make a white wine, mushrooms, butter and parsley sauce. Or top the fish with my Tropical fruit salsa.

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Serve with

I like to serve this Chilean sea bass with my Green bean and dill risotto.

What you need to know about Chilean sea bass

Known as the filet mignon of fish, Chilean sea bass is a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth fish. Chilean sea bass is actually not a member of the bass family. It is actually a Patagonian toothfish. It is a slow-growing fish that lives about 40 years.

Is Chilean sea bass sustainable?

Because Chilean sea bass is so darned delicious it was seriously overfished, often using methods that resulted in a lot of by-catch with lots of pirate fishing by unscrupulous fishermen. Due to pressure from governments, conservation groups and industry, these practices have improved dramatically, although not uniformly all over the world. The result is Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch provides mixed sustainability recommendations for Chilean sea bass, including Best Choice, Good Choice and Avoid for Chilean sea bass, depending where it was caught and how it was caught. Other environmental groups say Chilean sea bass should not be elevated in its sustainability rating until there are more uniform world-wide fishing practices and more accurate labeling.

What about mercury levels?

Chilean sea bass is a larger, slow-growing fish and consequently does accumulate mercury. Chilean sea bass is listed by the Environmental Defense Fund as being high in mercury, although not as high as swordfish or shark. The EDF provides safe eating recommendations of no more than two servings per month for adults and one serving per month for children. A recent study by the University of Hawaii-Manoa found that levels of mercury depend on where the fish is caught and that current labeling practices cannot always be relied on to accurately track where the fish was sourced. Sea bass from near the Antarctic where pollution levels are lower were found to have significantly lower levels of mercury than sea bass caught farther north.

The bottom line

The sustainability and environmentally sound fishing practices for Chilean sea bass  have improved significantly in recent years, but there is more work to be done. Mercury levels are more concerning, as our oceans are not getting any cleaner. As long as labeling of fish is inaccurate, we will not really know what we are eating.

 

As much as I really love Chilean sea bass, I will save it for special occasions and focus my fish consumption on more environmentally sustainable, lower mercury, high omega-3 species.

 

Chilean sea bass with lemon, dill & caper sauce

Prep

Cook

Total

Pan-seared Chilean sea bass is seared on the stove, finished in the oven and draped with a quick wine, butter, lemon, dill & caper sauce. Finished in under 30 minutes, you will think you are eating at a fine restaurant.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice and zest of one lemon
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T fresh dill, chopped, divided
  • 2 T capers, drained
  • 2 T grape seed oil, or other oil with a high smoke point
  • 2 pounds Chilean sea bass filets about 1 1/2" thick, skin removed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 450 degrees. Put wine, garlic, shallot, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Reduce heat to low and whisk in 1 tablespoon of butter at a time. Remove from heat and stir in 1 T dill and capers. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat an oven proof skillet on high and add grapeseed oil to the pan. Heat the oil until it starts to shimmer. Dry the sea bass thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. Sear the fillets for about 3 minutes on each side, turning once. The goal is to get a crispy golden crust on each side.
  3. Remove the pan from the stove and transfer to the hot oven. Roast for about 5 minutes in the oven until sea bass is just cooked through.
  4. Plate the fish, drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1 T fresh dill.

 

 

THIS SERVES WELL WITH

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32 COMMENTS

Comments

  1. Lisa Giger says:

    I made this last night with the risotto and it was delicious! The fish was so easy to prepare.

    1. Kim says:

      So glad you liked it Lisa!

  2. Kim says:

    Sooo delicious.

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      So glad you liked it Kim!

  3. Ashley says:

    This recipe is nothing short of fabulous! I made this with the risotto and it was amazing. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Ashly I am so happy you enjoyed this recipe. You made my day!

  4. Garnette says:

    Easy and fit for a King..Will make this again

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      So glad you enjoyed this recipe Garnette!

  5. Sharon says:

    Want to try this tonight. Can I use butter to sear it? Or is
    Grape seed oil best!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Sharon — I use grapeseed oil because of its high smoke point. The goal is to sear the fish in a really hot pan and butter tends to burn. I use butter in the sauce for flavor.

  6. Sharon says:

    I bought the grape seed oil and it is well worth it. We loved it!!! I can absolutely make this for company any time. Thank you

  7. Jenny says:

    Help
    I felt the lemon sauce was too over powering
    I used a table spoons were there was a t was it suppose to be tsp

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Jenny, in general “t” refers to teaspoon and “T” refers to tablespoon. I’m a lemon lover and like a strong lemon flavor, but you can adjust to your own preference by reducing the amount of lemon juice. It also depends on what kind of lemons you are using. Some are more sour than others. Next time you might try the recipe with Meyer lemons, which are sweeter than regular lemons.

  8. Elaine Taylor says:

    Any tips for searing the Chilean Sea Bass? My did stick a little and sort of spread apart. It was hard to manipulate. It was all one piece so next time will cut up the portions first. Maybe that will help. Other than that, it was sooo delicious!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Elaine, there are a couple tricks to keep fish from sticking when you sear it. 1) Bring the fish to room temperature before you put it in the pan, 2) Thoroughly dry the fish off before you season it, 3) Season right before you sear, 4) Choose an appropriate pan. A well-seasoned cast iron, carbon steel or stainless steel pan work best because they handle high temperatures well. I usually use my Le Creuset frying pan. While logically you may think a non-stick pan would be best to avoid sticking, in general, non-stick pans are not meant to be used with the high heat needed to properly sear fish. HIgh heat ruins their finish. 5) Start with high heat and heat the pan until it is very hot, 6) Add an oil with a high smoke point, such as grape seed oil, 7) Get the oil very hot. It should be shimmering, but not smoking, before you add the fish. 8) Add your fish to the pan and after a few seconds press down on the fish with your spatula so that the entire fillet comes into contact with the pan, 9) Now leave the fish alone and turn down the heat to medium. Don’t play with the fish or try and flip it too early. The fish will release naturally when it is ready. Test for release by shaking the pan to see if it moves, and not by doing a trial flip. I hope this helps!

  9. Judy says:

    I made this for a dinner party and it was fabulous. My guests raved about it. I did use two different pans to sear the fish and the pan that was non-stick did not brown the fish as well as the pan that was not. This is going on my “favorites” list.

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Thanks for your comment Judy. I agree, non-stick pans are best for searing. Cast iron and stainless steel work best, you just have to be patient and let the fish release on its own. The one exception for me are Scan Pans. I have had good luck searing with these non-stick ceramic pans from Denmark.

  10. Brenda says:

    Absolutely wonderful! I did not have grape seed oil so I tried coconut oil and there were no negatives. Sauce is delicious.

  11. Erin says:

    I made this sea bass, along with the recommended risotto and kale salad, and it was FABULOUS! My whole foodie crowd raved about it.

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Erin, Thank you for writing in. I’m so glad you and your friends enjoyed the recipes. This Chilean Sea Bass is a personal favorite and is fast becoming one of our most popular recipes.

  12. Carlita says:

    Hi – I am making tonight. I can’t wait. How many servings would you say this is? I will post my comments after I cook it. Thanks!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Carlita, this recipe serves four. I allow half a pound of fish per person. I hope you enjoy your meal!

  13. Carlita says:

    My dinner turned out fantastic. Highly recommend this recipe. I made with the green bean risotto. Super yum!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Carlita, Thanks for writing in. I am so glad your meal worked out well for you.

  14. Linda says:

    This is always my problem – the fish sticks to the pan! I used a ton of oil in a cast iron pan on med high. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Linda, This is a common problem so don’t get discouraged. Get the pan very hot before you add the oil. Then get the oil very hot, to the point where it begins to shimmer, before you add the fish. Then resist the temptation to try and turn the fish too early. When the fish is seared it releases naturally. If you try and flip it and encounter resistance, back off and let it cook a bit more before trying again. Good luck and don’t give up!

  15. Meghan says:

    Amazing! I wanted to lick the sauce right out of the pan. This was my first time cooking Sea Bass and now the bar is set high. Thank you, Kim!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Meghan, I am so glad you liked the recipe!

  16. Damien says:

    Beautiful recipe. Fish was perfectly cooked (which was important for $15×2 fillets from whole foods!), and sauce was delicious. Made it with a fennel/tomato side. It was like a very nice restaurant entree 🙂 Wife loved it. Thank you!!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Thank you for your comments Damien,

      This is one of my most popular recipes. I am so glad you enjoyed it. And yes, your are right. Chilean Sea Bass is crazy expensive, so it has to come out perfect!

  17. Ed Colby says:

    Wonderful recipe! I had a great 2 lb cut of the Chilean Sea Bass, fried in an old Wagner Cast Iron Skillet – and used the leftovers for fish tacos. Sauteed the leftover Bass in a little butter, Cumin Powder, Garlic Powder, and Chipotle Chile Powder. Not enough to over power the Bass….just give it an extraordinary flavor. Served it in gently fried corn tortillas with shredded cabbage and a Sriracha Mayo Sauce. Both meals were winners!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Wow Ed! That sounds delicious. Can I come to dinner? : )

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