Sea bass is a white fish that has a mild taste and when seared right, it has a crispy crunchy skin and tastes great. It is simple to do and once you master this searing technique, you can wow your friends and family, or just make yourself some great fish.

We talked with Chef Jamie Celaya of OKRA FoodBar to learn how he pan sears fish to get a perfect crust and flaky inside. “When pan searing fish, there are a couple of basic rules to make for a great result. Whether using a stainless steel clad pan or a non-stick, you should follow these guidelines to assure cooking is fun and results are delicious.


Step 1

Remove the sea bass from the refrigerator and pat dry with a cloth or allow it to sit in the cloth for a few minutes, to remove excess moisture. Allowing the fish to approach room temperature is beneficial, but not mandatory." (Note: this allows for even cooking and prevents sticking to the pan)


Step 2

“Lightly season both sides of sea bass / fish with sea salt and pepper. This adds flavor and helps provide a nice browned crust.”


Step 3

“Heat your stainless steel clad pan to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil such as sunflower, canola or grapeseed. At the very first signs of the oil smoking, it is ready for the fish to dive in.”


Step 4

“Always remember to cook the “presentation side” first. Regardless of cooking the skin or the flesh as the presentation side, it must get crispy. After cooking the fish for about 45 seconds at medium-high heat, lower the temperature to medium. Cook the fish until it allows itself to release from the pan and slide about with very little physical effort (about 2 minutes). Once the fish can slide about the pan, add 1.5 TBL spoons of butter, 2 garlic cloves cut in ½ and fresh herbs such as Thyme. Cook for about 1 minute more allowing it to get a nice brown color and flip sides.”


Step 5

“After flipping the fish, baste it with the butter that is turning golden brown and nutty ( if it is turning black or is too hot, just add a little more chilled butter to cool it down) for about 2 minutes or until flaky.”


Step 6

“Remove the fish from the stainless clad frying pan, garnish with herbs, fresh squeeze of lemon and then serve.” 

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