Perfectly seared piece of fish, basted with a silky coating of butter, and topped with bright & tangy winter citrus. This seared sea bass with citrus salad is just the kind of refreshing dish we need to break through the end of February winter blues.
Something I’m really into are recipes that aren’t really recipes – meaning they’re dishes that are full of room for playing and experimenting. It’s the kind of cooking where you can taste as you go, adjust as you like, and just kind of go with the flow of it all.
Especially in the winter when our weeknight cooking can become uneventful and mundane, I like to be extra thoughtful and find ways to turn something simple into something exciting. And for me, the most exciting moments in the kitchen are when you’re not strictly following a recipe line by line. Rather, you have a template and a combination of flavors that you can make all the calls on.
You can add a little bit more of this or a tiny bit less of that…
Sea bass is the perfect fish to cook with this type of mentality. It’s mild in flavor and takes on bold ingredients like citrus, jalapenos, and capers really well. It also takes no time to prepare…a good sear skin-side down in a hot pan and a few more minutes cooking through in the oven is all it needs. Plus, some extra love from a nice basting of bubbling butter at the very end. All of that richness gets balanced by the refreshing salad, and hopefully it’s something you’ll want to keep making again and again.
…with your own tweaks, of course.
Use different citrus, maybe sub a serrano chili for the jalapenos, or maybe even use olives instead of the capers. Just go with it and see where your palate takes you.Print
Seared Sea Bass with Citrus Salad
a simply prepared seared sea bass with a bright, tangy citrus salad
- 2 filets (about 6 oz each) sea bass, skin-on
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- 1 grapefruit
- 1 blood orange
- 1 jalapeno, very thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp drained capers
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1 tbsp butter
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Let the sea bass sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Season with salt on both sides.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, place the sea bass into the pan, skin-side down. Allow the skin to sear until it’s crisp. Once the sea bass easily slides in the pan, you’ll know the skin is done.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and let the sea bass finish cooking for about 5 minutes until just cooked through.
- Meanwhile, use a knife to peel the grapefruit and blood orange. Slice the segments into a bowl, allowing all of the juice to fall in as well. Add the jalapenos, capers, honey, lime zest, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Toss well.
- Remove the pan from the oven and place it back on the stove over low heat. Add the butter. Allow the butter to melt and use a spoon to “baste” the fish by spooning the butter over the white flesh for about 30 seconds.
- Serve the sea bass with the citrus salad over top. Freshly crack lots of black pepper to garnish.