A Guide to Buying and Cooking Sea Bass IN (2020)

Sea bass is small fish that live in the western Atlantic between Florida and Cape Cod. Unlike another bass, like striped bass and white bass, sea bass is only found in the ocean. Several types of “bass,” like Chilean sea bass, are not really bass at all, but fish renamed to enhance marketability.

Also called black sea bass and blackfish, the sea bass is a stout-bodied bottom feeder with grayish-black coloring and a white belly. The flesh is white and somewhat firm with tight, small flakes and a delicate flavor.

They are usually sold as 1 1/2- to 2-pound whole fish and sometimes sold alive at Asian markets. Look for fish with a deep color, bright eyes, and pink (not brown) gills.

Whole sea bass is good steamed or roasted (Try it with Asian seasonings). Fillets can be sautéed or broiled, and they are often baked in parchment paper or foil packets. Both whole fish and fillets are good fried.

Similar fish include snapper, striped bass, cod or grouper.

Whole Sea Bass with Charred Serrano-Basil Vinaigrette


Charred Serrano-Basil Vinaigrette:

2 serrano chiles, grilled and chopped

3 tablespoons diced red onions

2 cloves finely chopped garlic

2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons finely chopped basil leaves

Grilled Sea Bass:

4 whole sea bass (1 pound each), scaled and gutted, head and tail intact

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch fresh basil



Place chiles, onion, garlic, mustard, vinegar, and salt and pepper in a blender and blend until combined. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified. Pour into a bowl and stir in the chopped basil.


Heat grill to medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the fish with the oil and season each with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper, including the cavity. Stuff the cavity of each fish with some of the basil. Grill each fish until slightly charred on 1 side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Using a heavy-duty spatula, carefully turn the fish over, close the cover and continue grilling until just cooked through about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the grill and immediately drizzle each fish with 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette.

Grilled Sea Bass, Mango, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad



3 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano

2 teaspoons allspice

1/2 cup grapefruit juice

8 (5 to 6-ounce) sea bass fillets


1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Place first 6 ingredients in processor until almost smooth. Add juice and blend well. Season spice mixture with salt pepper. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture over each fillet. Refrigerate 2 hours.

Preheat grill. Remove fish from marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 3 minutes on each side.

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