This easy Mediterranean sea bass recipe comes together in just 15 minutes! A few simple steps give you the flakiest, most tender fish recipe. But the bold seasoning and colorful bell peppers take this simple pan-seared sea bass to the next level!

A cast iron skillet with pan seared sea bass served with a bell pepper medley on top

Easy sea bass recipe

This easy pan-seared sea bass recipe is a little taste of the Mediterranean in one pan! And it comes together in just 15 minutes. 

First, you’ll give a few sea bass filets a quick rub with a bold seasoning of cumin, coriander, Aleppo-style pepper, and garlic. Then you’ll briefly sear the fish in some extra virgin olive oil to create the perfect thin crust that gives way to tender, perfectly flaky sea bass underneath without too much work! 

To serve, hit your fish with a good splash of lemon juice and top it with my sautéed medley of bell peppers, garlic, shallots, and chopped kalamata olives. It’s not just a pretty embellishment, trust me! This delicious topping of veggies is the tastiest complement to this pan-seared fish recipe. Simply add your favorite grain or a big salad, and you’ve got dinner!

Pan seared sea bass in a skillet

How to cook sea bass

Sea bass is a broad family of saltwater fish, and some fish with more than 400 species! This recipe uses a white sea bass, which is actually a type of fish called a drum. Not scientifically a “bass”, but delicious nevertheless. 

Generally, sea bass is a mild-tasting white fish, and you can cook it in a variety of mouthwatering ways. Most people will cook sea bass in the oven. It’s great baked with a lemon-garlic dressing like I do with cod in this recipe, or smothered in basil pesto, or even wrapped in parchment with sliced veggies of your choice. 

But another easy way to prepare sea bass filets is to pan-sear them in a bit of good extra virgin olive oil. This will take about 4 minutes or so on either side, depending on the thickness of your fish filets. Granted, this method might require a splatter guard, but that thin crust on the fish is so worth it!   

Mediterranean sea bass seared in a skillet with a medley of bell peppers served on top

Sea bass recipe ingredients and substitutions

This simple recipe has three components: the fish, seasoning, and the delicious topping of bell peppers and vegetables. Here are more notes on the ingredients you need to make this sea bass recipe: 

The fish

Skinless sea bass or Chilean sea bass filet. You need about 1 ½ pounds cut into 4 filets. You can typically find wild-caught sea bass in the freezer section at your grocery store; you’ll just need to thaw it out properly overnight. Other mild white fish options like halibut or even cod will work here (more ideas below).

The seasoning

To amp up the flavor on this simple pan-seared fish recipe, I used a spice rub or seasoning with ground coriander, garlic powder, Aleppo pepper (or sweet Spanish paprika), ground cumin, and black pepper.

The sauteed bell pepper topping

Chopped bell peppers (any colors you have), with shallots, garlic, and pitted kalamata olives, all sauteed in a bit of olive oil and added on top of your fish. You can play around with this topping, adding other veggies you may have on hand. Chopped carrots, zucchini, or even chopped baby broccoli will work.

How to make pan-seared sea bass

Here are the simple steps to make this fish recipe. Remember, the print-friendly recipe with full ingredient list and measurements is just below: 

  • Season the sea bass. Sprinkle kosher salt on both sides of the fish (4 6-ounce sea bass fillets, each about 1 ½ inches thick). Set aside for now. 
  • Make the spice mixture. In a small bowl, combine the spices to make the spice mixture. (You need ½ tablespoon ground coriander, ½ tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or Sweet Spanish paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.) Set the spice mix aside as well. 
  • Cook the vegetables. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add 1 chopped red bell pepper, 1 chopped green bell pepper, 3 chopped shallots, and 4 cloves of minced garlic. Season with kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes or until the peppers have softened. Turn the heat to low, and stir in ½ cup pitted and chopped kalamata  olives. Leave the veggies on low heat to continue cooking while you cook the fish.
  • Pan-sear the sea bass. Pat the fish dry and season with the remaining spice mixture on both sides. Heat ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet (I recommend using cast-iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Once the oil is hot enough, add the fish to the pan. Manage your heat so it does not burn. Push down on the thickest part of each fillet for about 30 seconds. Then let the sea bass cook undisturbed for 4 to 6 minutes, until nicely browned. Carefully turn the fish over with a spatula and cook the other side for 3 to 4 minutes until it also browns nicely. 
  • Serve. Remove the fish from the heat and immediately squeeze the juice of half a lemon all over it. Spoon the vegetable medley on top and serve hot. 
Mediterranean Pan Seared Sea Bass Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Quick and crispy pan seared sea bass, coated with Mediterranean spices and a tasty bell pepper medley to serve on top or as a side! Dinner in minutes! from TheMediterraneanDish.com #mediterraneandiet #mediterraneanrecipes #seafoodrecipes #fish #fishrecipes #healthyrecipes #lowcarbrecipes #weeknightdinner #weeknightmeal #onpotdinner #onepan #glutenfreerecipes #seabass #easyrecipes

Important cooking tip for searing your fish 

So for this pan-seared sea bass recipe, I have an important tip for perfectly flaky, never rubbery, fish. Before you turn the fish over, look for browned edges. And if parts of the fish are stuck to the skillet, carefully and gently scraping it with a spatula should be enough to loosen the fish. If the fish is entirely stuck, however, this is a sign that it is not ready to turn over. Leave it for about 30 seconds more and try again. The fish should release when ready, and it should be somewhat browned on both sides. 

How can I tell if my fish is cooked?

While sea bass is easy to cook, like other fish, it is also easy to overcook. Generally, your fish is ready when the flesh turns from gray and translucent to opaque, and it should easily flake at the touch of a fork. To be sure you can use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature. Cooked fish is ready when its internal temperature is somewhere between 140 to 145 degrees F.

What can I use instead of sea bass in this recipe?

Any white fish with a firm texture and delicate flavor would work well in this recipe as a substitute for sea bass. Grouper, red snapper, mahi mahi, branzino, cod, and halibut are all good options if you cannot find sea bass. 

What to serve along

I like serving this sea bass and pepper medley with a few lemon wedges and plain pearl couscous or bulgur wheat. And if you’re looking for something to start the meal, try panzanella or grilled zucchini salad and a side of whipped labneh with pita chips!   

Leftovers and storage

Leftover pan-seared sea bass and vegetables will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. I like eating leftover fish at room temperature so it does become rubbery when heated. But you can reheat it over medium-low heat until just warmed through.

More easy pan seared fish recipes to try:

If you like this pan seared sea bass recipe, here are a few more seared fish recipes to try next

Visit Our Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients

4.97 from 31 votes

Mediterranean Pan Seared Sea Bass Recipe with Garlic Bell Pepper Medley

Suzy Karadsheh
Mediterranean Pan Seared Sea Bass Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Quick and crispy pan seared sea bass, coated with Mediterranean spices and a tasty bell pepper medley to serve on top or as a side! Dinner in minutes! from TheMediterraneanDish.com #mediterraneandiet #mediterraneanrecipes #seafoodrecipes #fish #fishrecipes #healthyrecipes #lowcarbrecipes #weeknightdinner #weeknightmeal #onpotdinner #onepan #glutenfreerecipes #seabass #easyrecipes
Don't skip the garlic and bell peppers, they are far more than a garnish on this crispy pan seared sea bass recipe! This quick fish dinner is great served with plain pearl couscous (or another grain of your choice) or lemon rice.
Prep – 5 mins
Cook – 10 mins
Total – 20 mins
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 4 people
Course:
Dinner

Ingredients
  

  • 4 pieces Sea Bass fillet, no skin (each piece about 6-0z in weight and 1 ½ inches in thickness)
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, cored and chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, cored and chopped
  • 3 Shallots. chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved or chopped
  • ½ lemon, juice off

Spice Mixture 

Instructions
 

  • Take the fish out of the fridge about 20 minutes before cooking. Sprinkle with salt on both sides and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the spices to make the spice mixture. Set aside for now.
  • In a medium-sized skillet, heat 2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking.
  • Add the bell peppers, shallots, and garlic. Season with salt and 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture you prepared earlier. Cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes or until the peppers have softened. Turn the heat to lowest, and stir in the chopped olives. Leave on low heat as you prepare the fish.
  • Pat fish dry and season with the remaining spice mixture on both sides as well.
  • In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add the fish pieces (you can reduce heat to medium, if needed). Push down on the middle (thickest part) for 30 seconds or so. Cook fish on one side, undisturbed, until nicely browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully turn fish over and cook on other side for 3-4 minutes until nicely browned as well. (Important Note- look for browned edges before you turn it over. If parts of the fish are stuck, you should be able to carefully scrape it with the spatula and turn. But, if the fish is entirely stuck, it's not ready to be turned over.  Leave it for a little bit. It should release when ready.)
  • Remove fish from heat, immediately drizzle lemon juice. Serve hot with the bell pepper medley spooned on top. Add a side of cooked pearl couscous or rice, if you like. Or add a gluten-free side of your choice. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 132kcalCarbohydrates: 10.9gProtein: 2.1gFat: 10.1gSaturated Fat: 1.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 7.2gCholesterol: 0.8mgSodium: 279.1mgPotassium: 259.7mgFiber: 3.4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1268.7IUVitamin C: 71.8mgCalcium: 42.6mgIron: 1.3mg
Tried this recipe?

*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2018 and has been recently updated with new media and information for readers' benefit.

Share it with the world

I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

How many stars would you give this recipe?




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I'm so glad I found your website, we love fish but I was running out of ideas....
    Tried this recipe today and loved it!
    Served it with fried thick slices of "panisse" a specialty of Nice, a bit like polenta but made of chickpea. Excellent!
    Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. Followed the recipe except used Kentucky crappie filets. Cooking them almost crisp, they were perfect.

  3. 5 stars
    This was one of my favorites! I love sea bass and was running out of ideas. I'm always amazed at how wonderful a bell pepper medley is. This was a winner!

  4. 5 stars
    So delicious! My favorite fish recipe ever. I substituted a yellow pepper for green pepper, used a yellow onion versus the shallot and had smoked paprika on hand versus the other. My husband loved it too!

  5. 5 stars
    Love this! I buy sea bass at Costco. They have a bag of individually wrapped sea bass in the frozen section.

  6. 5 stars
    This was recipe is fantastic! I loved the vegetable medley, and I will use it to top many different things. First time using pearl couscous, and I will certainly use it again.

  7. 5 stars
    Easy to make, nice complex flavors. We used a very thick piece of Chilean Sea Bass, and the 4 - 6 minutes on each side didn't cook it sufficiently. After another 10 minutes on the stovetop we still weren't in serving territory. So, I took my meat thermometer, and put it in horizontally to the center of the thickest piece. Since I'm using an electronic thermometer, I set the target temp for 145 degrees, and set the oven to 300 degrees. In about 15 minutes, the fish had reached temperature, and it was a great meal. Will certainly make it again.

  8. 5 stars
    I made this recipe today and it is wonderful. The spices in it are warm and lovely. The lemon juice really wakes everything up. I served it with brown rice. I'm definitely making this one often; it's a great mix of textures and flavors. Thanks for a great recipe.

  9. 5 stars
    Super simple fast and easy to interchange whichever veggies you have on hand. I didn’t get a perfect crust on mine but the fish was perfect and great recommendations on pressing the fish down in the middle, waiting to flip etc. I’d also say to make sure whatever liquid that pools once the fish is cooked to reserve that and pour over with the lemon juice and dig in!!

  10. 5 stars
    Indeed nice recipe. I cooked it today and me and my son relished it in Dubai. Would like to post a pic of my preparation of it’s allowed here. Do advise

    1. Hello! Unfortunately, we don't have the ability to allow shared photos here, I'm sorry. So glad you and your son enjoyed the recipe!!

  11. 4 stars
    I pay a visit each day a few web sites and blogs to read articles, except this webpage provides quality based content.

  12. 5 stars
    I made it for my wife's birthday and she and my family loved it saying it was the best sea bass they had eaten and tasted like it was from a fine restaurant. Thank you for the recipe!

  13. 5 stars
    So many recipes I try are a disappointment, but this was absolutely wonderful. I did have to make slight adjustments using red onion and yellow and red peppers and smoked paprika. Thank you, we loved it.

    1. I found sea bass today with skin on the bottom. Can I cook it the same way and remove skin after? BTW, love your site and recommend it on various Mediterranean groups online.

  14. 5 stars
    I’m new to cooking and this website has been my bible! I followed the instructions and the dish was perfect! I’ve never had so much good food since finding your recipes! You’re great! Thank you for your hard work creating all this for us!

    Nick from UK