Black sea bass is sustainably fished on the Atlantic coast and is a very tasty fish, thanks to its bottom-feeding habit (a diet of crustaceans makes for a rich, white flesh). It pairs particularly well with bright Asian flavors, so I’ve given it a drizzle of ginger-garlic-lime-butter here. But soy sauce and scallions or a miso-based sauce would work well, too.

You will find black sea bass filets with the skin on. The skin is delicious when crisped up, so pan-frying, skin side-down, is a great way to cook the filets. When the skin cooks, it does tend to cause the filets to curl up a bit. To avoid that, you can slash the skin of each filet crosswise in a couple places before cooking.

While you can cook the filets entirely in the frying pan, I prefer to flip them after browning the skin side and slide the whole pan into a 400-degree oven.

This recipe calls for the fish to be served on a bed of Roasted August Vegetables with Ginger, Garlic, and Lime Рa ratatouille-inspired vegetable dish with Asian flavors. But you could certainly serve the fish over a rice pilaf, crushed garlic-y potatoes, or a corn and bean saut̩.

With the vegetables, this will serve 4 people (depending on the size of your filets). If you are serving hungry eaters who like big protein portions, you might want to get 6 filets instead of 4 and portion accordingly. The drizzle of garlic-ginger-lime butter can be scaled up easily.


  • 1 recipe Roasted August Vegetables with Ginger, Garlic and Lime
  • 4 skin-on black sea bass filets (about 1 ¼ pounds total)
  • Flour
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (Cut into 4 pieces)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon any combination thinly sliced (or baby leaves) fresh basil, Thai basil, cilantro and/or mint


1. Bring the roasted vegetables to room temperature if they have been refrigerated.

2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

3. Using a sharp knife, score the skin side of each filet crosswise in one or two places, cutting through the skin (all the way from side to side), but not the flesh. Season the bass filets with salt on both sides. Dredge in flour and shake off excess flour so that both sides are lightly coated.

4.  In a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil with 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat (or slightly towards medium-high, depending on your stove). When the butter has melted and the pan is hot, add the four filets, skin-side down. Cook without disturbing for 4 minutes. Check with a thin spatula to see if the skin has browned. If not, continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes.

5. Flip the filets over and put the whole pan in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, or just until the fish is cooked through.

6. Arrange the roasted vegetables on four serving plates. Transfer one filet to each plate and arrange, skin-side up, on top of the vegetables, reserving the pan.

7. Return the pan to the stovetop (be careful, the handle is hot!) over medium-low heat and add the 3 tablespoons butter, the garlic, the ginger, and the lime zest. Swirl and stir until the butter is melted and bubbling and the garlic and ginger are just softened, about a minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

8. Spoon the butter mixture evenly over each of the four filets and garnish with the herbs. Serve right away.