Crispy-Skinned Sea Bass with Spicy Tomato Butter

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crispy-skinned sea bass with spicy tomato butter, radishes, scallions, and thyme

serves: 2

  • Author: Kayla Howey



Spicy Tomato Butter

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if desired)
  • ½ lb unsalted butter, softened

Crispy-Skinned Sea Bass

  • 2 pieces of skin-on sea bass
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1 radish, very thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • fresh thyme leaves
  • flaky sea salt


Spicy Tomato Butter

  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, cherry tomatoes, salt, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Let the tomatoes cook for about 5 minutes until burst open and starting to caramelize, stirring often.
  3. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook about 10 minutes longer.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the tomatoes cool.
  5. Combine the cooled tomatoes with the softened butter in a food processor. Blend until smooth and incorporated.
  6. Reserve about 6 tablespoons of tomato butter at room temperature until ready to use for the sea bass. Cover and store the remaining butter in the fridge for another use.

Crispy-Skinned Sea Bass

  1. *Do ahead* – Allow the sea bass to sit uncovered, skin-side up in the fridge for about an hour before cooking to dry out.
  2. Move the sea bass to room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a stainless-steel pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the sea bass with a pinch of salt on both sides. When the oil is hot, place the sea bass into the oil, skin-side down. Use a fish spatula to firmly press down onto the fish, helping the skin lay flat.
  4. Allow to cook for a few minutes until the fish is almost opaque and the skin is crispy (don’t try to flip until the skin naturally releases on its own). Flip the sea bass over and finish cooking on the other side for just another minute or so.
  5. Turn off the heat and add about 6 tablespoons of spicy tomato butter to the pan. Swirl the butter around until melted.
  6. Spoon the butter onto a plate and place the sea bass right on top, skin-side up. Garnish with the sliced radishes, scallions, thyme leaves, and flaky sea salt.


The spicy tomato butter recipe makes more than you need for two pieces of sea bass. You can easily store it and use it for another purpose, or if you’re cooking for more people, the butter can probably work for up to 8-10 pieces of sea bass (just prep a little bit more of each garnish).