With a drizzle of garlicky lemon butter, this Salt and Pepper Crusted Chilean Sea Bass Recipe brings simple flavors to your plate and pairs with everything!


Close up of salt and pepper crusted sea bass.

An Easy Chilean Sea Bass Recipe You Can Master at Home.

If you’re trying to get your family to eat more fish, sea bass is the perfect gateway. The flavor is mild, the texture is meaty, and it pairs well with just about anything! You can hit it with a variety of spices or brighten it up with a fruit salsa. I decided to keep things simple with this recipe to boast how great Chilean sea bass is on its own. Honestly, a generous amount of salt and pepper with a drizzle of garlic lemon butter is all you need.

A Very Short List of Ingredients!

Nothing beats a recipe with very little ingredients. Just four ingredients for the fish, and three ingredients for the garlicky lemon butter. Here’d what to put on your grocery list:

  • Chilean sea bass fillets, about 6 oz each
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Butter
  • Garlic cloves
  • Lemon

Bowl of greens and grains topped with salt and pepper crusted sea bass.

Hands holding up bowl of salad topped with sea bass.

How to Cook Chilean Sea Bass.

If you’re familiar with cooking fish, weather it be on the grill or in the oven, good news: Chilean sea bass cooks the same as any other fish. If you’re less familiar with cooking fish, check out my Fish & Seafood Guide for cooking tips and tricks. In this particular recipe, the fillet is pan-seared to get a good crust going, then finished off in the oven resulting in a perfect, juicy, flaky interior. Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F with a rack positioned in the middle.
  2. Gently pat the fillets dry with paper towels, then let the fillets come to room temperature. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Hit the top of each fillet with a generous amount of sea salt and cracked black pepper—you’re looking at about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper, but you can eyeball it.
  4. Heat some avocado or olive oil (not extra virgin, just olive oil) in a heavy-bottomed medium-sized cast iron pan. Heat it for about two minute so the pan is very hot and the oil is shimmering.
  5. Carefully place the fish fillets into the skillet seasoned side down. Hit the fillets with a bit more salt and pepper.
  6. Sear the fillets over high heat for 2 minutes. Don’t try to move the fish once it it’s the pan, or you’ll tear the fillet.
  7. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the fillets for 8 minutes, or until the fillets are opaque and have an internal temperature of 145º F. While the fish cooks, make the garlic lemon butter sauce.
  8. Plate the fish and drizzle each fillet with a tablespoon of garlic lemon butter sauce.

Useful Tools for This Recipe:

Recipe Tips + Tricks.

  1. Be sure to use a cooking oil with a high smoke point, like avocado, olive oil (not extra virgin), canola, safflower, etc.
  2. When the Chilean sea bass is placed onto the hot pan, do not try to move it or you’ll tear the fillet. The fillet needs to develop a crust and cook before it can safely be moved.
  3. If you don’t have a stainless steel fish turner, you can use a regular spatula, just be careful. Fish turners are longer and better for handling delicate fish fillets.
  4. This Chilean sea bass recipe is great served with a side of veggies or on top of a grain salad.

Side shot of bowl of salad topped with sea bass.

Have You Made This Recipe?

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Love Chilean Sea Bass? Try These Other Fish Recipes:

Close up of salt and pepper crusted sea bass.

Get the Recipe:

Salt and Pepper Crusted Chilean Sea Bass Recipe

With a drizzle of garlicky lemon butter, this Salt and Pepper Crusted Chilean Sea Bass Recipe brings simple flavors to your plate and pairs with everything!
5 from 3 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 6 oz fillets of sea bass, with or without skin
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cracked black pepper

Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce (Optional).

  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed, *See notes
  • Juice and zest of one lemon

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375º F.
  • Pat the fillets dry with paper towels and let the fillets come to room temperature, which should take about 10-15 minutes. This will help them cook evenly.
  • Season one side of each fillet generously with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of cracked black pepper.
  • Heat oil in a medium-sized cast iron skillet or oven-safe saucepan over high heat for two minutes, or until the oil is shimmering
  • Carefully place the sea bass fillets into the skillet, seasoned side down. Sprinkle a little extra salt and pepper on the exposed tops.
  • Let the fillets sear over high heat for 2 minutes. Do not flip the fish; transfer the skillet into the oven and bake for 8 minutes, or until fish is opaque and the internal temperature is 145º F.
  • Plate the fish and drizzle each fillet with a tablespoon of the garlic lemon butter sauce (if you make it).

Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce (Optional).

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Add the smashed garlic cloves and lemon zest to the butter.
  • Bring the heat to low and simmer, infusing the butter with garlic, for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice and stir well to incorporate. Continue to simmer on low for 2 minutes. Discard the garlic cloves with a slotted spoon.

Notes

Garlic: Peel your cloves of garlic and, with the flat side of a chopping knife, press down on the clove to just break it open. We want to infuse the butter with the essence of garlic, but we don't want any garlic in the butter when serving.