This Pan Fried Sea Bass with Lemon Garlic Herb Sauce is a 20 minute, one-pan recipe that will have you feeling super fancy, even on a busy weeknight. It’s a wonderful way to eat a mild, affordable fish, and it’s packed with flavor from fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley. It’s especially great if you have an abundance of fresh herbs in your garden you need to use up! (raises hand)
Originally, I was planning on doing a lemon caper sauce, similar to chicken piccata. But lo and behold, when I arrived at my refrigerator, I realized I was out of capers. After some quick thinking and wandering around outside, I decided on a fresh herb packed sauce instead.
SO happy I was out of capers. This turned out wonderfully!
If you’ve ever made chicken piccata before, the process for this is very similar. First, the fish is dredged in a flour mixture and pan-fried in butter and olive oil. Why both, you ask? The butter gives it a rich, golden color, while the olive oil makes it crispy. Mixing the two is my favorite way to pan-fry almost anything.
Then, the sauce is made in the same pan by adding garlic, deglazing with white wine, and adding water or chicken stock (I used water- there is more than enough flavor from the other ingredients in the sauce, but for extra richness, use chicken stock). Then, another bit of butter is added in, along with fresh lemon juice and the herbs. It’s important to add the herbs last, as this will ensure they maintain their bright colors and potent flavors.
I could have this sauce on anything. It would be great on chicken, steak, salmon, plain on a spoon, mixed into pasta… the possibilities are endless. And since I still have a mountain of fresh herbs growing, I foresee a lot of these things happening in the near future.
I used a heavy stainless steel skillet (specifically, this Calphalon one– my favorite!) for this- it works well for pan sauces and deglazing. You can use a well seasoned cast iron skillet or a nonstick skillet as well.
Can’t find sea bass at your grocery store? Try the frozen fish section- I used Barramundi. If you can’t find it there, any other kind of mild white fish will do.
Here’s the printable recipe for Pan Fried Sea Bass with Lemon Garlic Herb Sauce!Print
Pan Fried Sea Bass with Lemon Garlic Herb Sauce
This pan fried sea bass with lemon garlic herb sauce is packed with flavor from fresh herbs. It’s a delicious 20 minute meal that’s perfect for feeling fancy on a busy weeknight!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 20 mins
- Yield: 2-4
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. sea bass (or other mild white fish)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more if needed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley.
- extra lemon for serving (optional)
- Pat the fish dry with a paper towel.
- In a shallow dish, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper.
- Dredge each piece of fish in the flour mixture and shake off any excess.
- In a large heavy skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat.
- Cook the fish in the skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and fully cooked.
- Remove fish from the skillet to a plate.
- If skillet is completely dry, add a little bit more oil or butter. Add the garlic to the skillet and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the white wine to the skillet to deglaze, stirring up any browned bits.
- When wine has reduced by about half, add the water and bring to a simmer.
- Turn off heat and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve sauce on top of fish.
For a paleo option, use almond flour or coconut flour instead of all purpose flour, and ghee instead of butter.