Tender Chilean Sea Bass Recipe

Chilean sea bass is quite trendy, and for good reason. The white fish is light, flaky, buttery, and incredibly tender. You could cook it a variety of ways, from pan-searing to baking, and it goes well with just about any topping, sauce, or seasoning blend. It can be on the pricier side compared to other types of white fish, but a single bite of the tender, flaky goodness makes it pretty obvious why that is the case.

Recipe developer Kit Hondrum likes to prepare her Chilean sea bass by pan-frying it in butter. She seasons it with thyme, an ingredient she says "adds a subtle flavor that isn't too overpowering for this delicate fish." To finish off her fish, she tops it with a sauce made of butter and capers. It's a rich, flavorful, and subtly salty sauce the perfectly complements the tender and flaky fish. And, with a fresh squeeze of lemon at the end, this sea bass is delightfully fresh and surprisingly quite easy to make.

Gather the ingredients for this Chilean sea bass dish

To make this dish, you'll need some Chilean sea bass fillets, salt, pepper, butter, garlic, capers, and thyme. Fresh lemon juice finishes the dish off nicely, although if you want to give it some extra color you can garnish it with parsley, too.

Prepare the fish and garlic

Take your fish out of the fridge 30 minutes before you plan to cook it. As the fish is warming up, you can peel and chop the garlic and, if you plan to use parsley, cut that up, too. (No need to chop the thyme.) Once the proper amount of time has elapsed for the fish, season it all over with salt and pepper.

Fry the fish

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the fish once the butter starts to turn brown. Hondrum notes that you should put the fish in the pan "skin-side down if it has skin." Leave the fish to cook on its own for 6 minutes, then flip the filets and leave them alone for another 4 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and capers, then stir those around the pan for 2 more minutes before turning off the heat. Check the fish to see if it's done. When it is, it should be opaque and easy to flake with a fork. If you want to check it with a meat thermometer, that should read 145 F.

Serve the fish with a buttery pan sauce

Add the rest of the butter to the pan and let it melt. To speed up the process, Hondrum advises cutting the butter into chunks. Serve the fish with the pan sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, garnishing it with parsley if you want to get fancy.

"This recipe is great with crusty French bread to soak up all the butter sauce," says Hondrum. She also enjoys serving it with salad or steamed vegetables.

Tender Chilean Sea Bass Recipe
5 from 35 ratings
This tender Chilean sea bass is rich, buttery, and wonderfully fresh.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Chilean sea bass with napkin
Total time: 17 minutes
  • 12 ounces Chilean sea bass, cut into 2 fillets
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup salted butter, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • ½ lemon
Optional Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. Remove the fish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking it.
  2. Peel and chop the garlic.
  3. Pat the fish dry and sprinkle it all over with salt and pepper.
  4. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, then add the fish once the butter is starting to brown.
  5. Let the fish cook untouched for 6 minutes, then flip it and leave it alone for 4 more minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, capers, and thyme to the pan and stir them around the fish for 2 minutes.
  7. The fish is done when it's opaque and flakes easily with a fork, and has an internal temperature of 145 F.
  8. Turn off the stove, then add the rest of the butter to the skillet.
  9. Serve the fish with the buttery pan sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  10. Garnish the dish with chopped parsley if desired.
Calories per Serving 594
Total Fat 49.6 g
Saturated Fat 30.1 g
Trans Fat 1.9 g
Cholesterol 191.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 5.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 0.5 g
Sodium 599.8 mg
Protein 32.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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