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California White Sea Bass

Oh California White sea bass, we love it so we even named our son Sebastian (aka sea bass) Cal after it.  As Californians, we are so lucky to have abundant stocks of it right here in our waters, especially after facing near extinction from overfishing in the 1960s – 1980s.  Now with stocks up it is back on the MBA ‘Best Choice’ of sustainability list.  And thank goodness, because it is SO GOOD!  Personally, it is our favorite sashimi fish!  Many people are unaware of this, but it is delicious raw, we love laying it in a bath of soy sauce and Sriracha (rooster sauce).  It also makes an excellent poké.  Aside from enjoying it raw, its firm flesh makes it one of the best grilling fish around.  Even kabobs are fantastic with the White sea bass.  Do not confuse it with Chilean sea bass which is absolutely not sustainable and an entirely different fish.  Usually when you find sea bass in a restaurant it will be Chilean which we stay away from. Our local Black Cod is an excellent substitute as it shares  the same buttery texture & flavor so many people love in the Chilean sea bass but is super sustainable.

Sea bass is very versatile to cook and does well with simply salt/pepper over the grill or under the broiler.  It is on the drier side so marinades are nice or even just a coating of olive oil before grilling.  I almost always cook it plainly then make some sort of sauce to put on it after, our kids love it that way.  We love it with our spin on a traditional tartar sauce that is so simple; we just mix nonfat plain greek yogurt with relish (or capers) and mustard.  Everyone loves it and it is much lighter than a traditional mayo-based tartar not to mention the plain yogurt gives it a nice tang.  We highly suggest this.  Below are a few other recipes that hopefully bring you inspiration should you need it… Enjoy!

Pan-roasted Sea Bass with Citrus-Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette


1 cup seeded and chopped heirloom tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil (melted)
1 lb sea bass fillets, with skin
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil


Combine tomatoes and vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat; cook 3 about minutes. Stir in parsley and next 6 ingredients. Set aside. Score fish skin diagonally two or three times (to prevent curling), and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear fillets, skin-side down, in 1 teaspoon oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat about 2 minutes. Press fillets flat with a metal spatula to prevent curling. Transfer skillet to oven, and bake at 450° for 5 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.  Serve fillets skin-side up. Spoon sauce over fillets.
adapted by hr from Coastal Living Dec 2007

Spicy Soy-Ginger Grilled Striped Bass with Asparagus

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (optional! I leave this out and the recipe is still fantastic.)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch (about 1 lb.) asparagus, trimmed
1 lb sea bass
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil (melted)


In a blender, combine soy sauce, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, the sugar if you’re adding it, fresh and powdered ginger, and red pepper flakes and blend. With the machine running, slowly pour in oil and continue blending until emulsified, about 30 seconds. Spread asparagus on a rimmed pan, pour half the marinade over it, and toss to coat. Reserve remaining marinade. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct high-heat grilling (450° to 550°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 2 to 4 seconds). Season on both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil and the remaining lemon juice. When grill is ready, lightly oil the cooking grate and put fish on grate skin side down. Grill 3 minutes, then turn and continue grilling until fish is no longer translucent inside (cut to test), 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a clean plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Grill asparagus spears, turning once or twice, until tender and browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Use a spoon to drizzle with some of the reserved marinade.
adapted by hr from Sunset April 2009

Grilled or Broiled Sea Bass with Miso-Mustard Sauce

An easy dish that uses some traditional Japanese ingredients, including miso. Made from fermented soybeans, miso paste comes in various shades, with the darker ones being stronger in flavor. This recipe calls for white miso (also called shiro-miso), which is sweeter and more delicate.


2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon prepared Chinese-style hot mustard or Dijon mustard
1/3 cup white miso (fermented soybean paste)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)**
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 pound sea bass fillet
8 green onions, trimmed
Toasted sesame seeds


Whisk water and mustard in small bowl until smooth. Combine miso, vinegar, mirin, and soy sauce in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk in mustard mixture. Prepare barbecue or broiler. Brush fish and green onions with oil. Sprinkle both with salt and pepper. Grill fish until opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side. Grill onions until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fish and onions to 2 plates. Spread sauce atop fish. Sprinkle sesame seeds over sauce and serve.
adapted by hr from Bon Appétit, July 2001

Pan Sautéed Mediterranean Sea Bass


1 pound sea bass fillet
5 whole fresh vine ripe tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
4 ounces feta cheese
2 ounces dry white wine
1 lemon, juice of
1 tablespoon dried oregano
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt & pepper


Salt & Pepper the fish. Heat a sauté pan, add olive oil. Put fish in pan, presentation side down. Cook until golden on one side, then turn over. Add tomatoes, garlic, oregano, fresh basil, 2 oz.feta cheese, white wine and the juice of one lemon. Finish in 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Take the fish out and finish with a splash of wine and the remaining feta cheese.
adapted by hr from  July, 2006

Our boy Josh – part of the H&H fishermen crew – landing your sea bass.

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