Pan Roasted Sea Bass with Lemon Olive Relish

I’ve been having a lot of fun with citrus dishes this month; both in coming up with different recipes using oranges and lemons and enjoying their bright flavors.  My Italian market had some gorgeous sea bass over the weekend and what better to go with lemons than fish!  This sea bass not only presented so colorful, the taste was amazing!!  A gorgeous relish topping in a blend of tart and tangy flavor with a touch of honey sweetness really complimented this mild tasting fish.  

As I purchase all my meats and seafood from this market I’ve become very familiar with the guys and can always count on them to select the perfect cuts for me.  I learned early on to develop a relationship with the butcher and fish mongers.  Getting to “first name basis” and I find they will provide lots of helpful information, cooking tips, what’s a better buy for that day and all around outstanding service!!

Sea Bass does have some pretty thick bones.  Not a lot, but after having served this one time for a special dinner and my guest finding a bone, I am overly careful now to check!  The best way I know is to simply run my finger over the fish and use my kitchen pliers or tweezers to pull them out.  This one was really difficult and I had to push down with a fork to grasp some of the bones. 

To prepare it, I decided to pan roast the sea bass as it was quite thick.  I prepared the relish earlier in the day and simply seared the fish in a cast iron skillet and placed it in the oven to finish cooking.  If sea bass is not available, any other firm, mild flavored fish could be used like cod or flounder. 

Pan Roasted Sea Bass with Lemon Olive Relish

For the Sea Bass:

4 6 oz sea bass fillets

Sea salt (or Kosher) and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup chopped fresh parsley and thyme (or a mix of fresh herbs)

4 thinly sliced lemons

Olive oil for searing

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Using a cast iron skillet, heat the pan over medium high heat.  Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Season the sea bass with salt and pepper and rub the fresh herbs on each side.  When the pan is hot, place the fillets in the pan, do not crowd.  Place a few lemon slices around the pan. Sear for a few minutes and turn.  I like to sear both sides before placing in the oven.  The amount of time in the oven will be determined by the thickness of the fillet.  As these were fairly thick, I roasted them for about 6 minutes.  I tested the fillet by checking the firmness with my finger.  Remove the skillet from the oven and allow to rest just a few minutes.  Discard the lemon slices and plate the sea bass with a generous scoop of relish allowing the liquid to pour and soak in. 

For the lemon olive relish:

2 lemons

½ cup chopped green olives with pimentos

1 shallot, minced

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the ends off the lemons and set on the flat side.  Following the curve of the lemon, cut away the peel and white pith.  Holding the lemon over a bowl to catch the juice, cut out each lemon segment, discarding the seeds.  Coarsely chop the lemon and olives.  Mix together the shallot, honey, vinegar and parsley in the bowl with the lemon juice.  Add in the lemons and olives.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper – not too much salt as the olives may have a salty taste.  Set aside until ready to use.

37 thoughts on “Pan Roasted Sea Bass with Lemon Olive Relish

  1. This sounds fabulous! We’re always looking for new fish recipes. It’s one thing all four of us will eat every time. And I know the kids would especially enjoy this with the olives – they are big fans. 🙂

  2. What a great post, Linda! Your advice regarding getting to know your butcher & fishmonger is well-taken, even if both work at your local grocery. Their advice can prove to be invaluable. And then there’s this recipe. I love both the simple preparation of the fish and the flavors of the lemony olive topping. And, in the spirit of this post, I’m heading now to a fishmonger that I recently discovered near here. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship. (Is someone humming “As Time Goes By”?)

  3. Beautiful recipe and I can imagine you in the market. Love that you have filleted and deboned…I really should do that too! Fantastic relish – have never tried chanmpagne vinegar, sounds very decadent and exciting.

  4. What a fabulous looking dinner, Linda. How delicious. And that olive relish is a great recipe. I’m sure that would go with many other things besides sea bass like chicken. Such a pretty meal too.

  5. That photo is stunning and the relish is making me CRAZY! This looks like the perfect way to incorporate lemon. Thanks for the tips on the bones…those bones always drive me nuts. Your fish is perfectly seared. I think anyone getting to eat at your table is the luckiest soul on earth. In my previous post, I mentioned that of all the bloggers, I would choose to eat at YOUR TABLE! 🙂

  6. Wow, look at your and your sea bass! Nice one Linda. That’s a fish I don’t see a lot of recipes for in the blogosphere actually. Yours might be the first one I ever saw, and what a one. Looks great, and that lemon olive relish too??? Oh yes!

  7. Great minds must think alike! I just made a fish dish with citrus relish. Now, I admit, it was probably not even close to this dish – this looks absolutely mouth watering!

  8. we had sea bass when we were in the UK, and were quite surprised at it’s mild flavour. Here in SA our fish is quite ‘gamey’. The relish looks amazing. Have a happy weekend 🙂

  9. What a great mix. I’m in love with all the lemon flavors going on here and the relish looks great. I can imagine it’s good on several different dishes.

  10. What a stunning dish, Linda! I love sea bass, but it has gotten hard to find here. I’m thinking you could sub another white fish, perhaps a halibut, that would work with all these great flavors. You’ve inspired me to cook fish next week!

  11. This is what I want for dinner tomorrow night…well..later tonight (it’s 4 am – insomnia lol) I’m loving that lemon – olive relish. I think I could eat a bowl of it by itself!

  12. I am so happy to have found your cooking website. I stumbled upon your fish recipe as once again I’m looking for another great way to cook up the little guy I just bought from the wet market today. I am a happy new follower. If you get a minute I will hope you can stop by mine at Take Care, BAM

  13. Omg, how did I miss this post last week? I am in awe of this colorful and citrus flavor dish, I could eat this right now for dinner, instead we are having homemade pork sausage my dad and uncles made. This is much lighter and more my type of a meal!

  14. Loved it the moment I saw the pic, and made it the next weekend , it was simply superb!!!
    Cheers for sharing this. I loved it thoroughly.

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