Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Pineapple Melon Salsa

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

You could use any fresh meaty fish, such as halibut, tuna, or salmon, for this recipe. Note the technique here of starting the fish on top of the stove and then finishing it in the oven, a practice used widely in restaurants. Pan-searing creates a rich crust that helps seal in the juices; then the oven’s more gentle heat cooks the fish through. You could of course do the whole thing on top of the stove. Start the fish on high heat to form the crust, turn to form a crust on the other side, then reduce the heat to medium, partially cover, and finish cooking.


  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons pure chile powder, such as ancho or chipotle
  • 6 5-ounce fillets of sea bass, cut at least ¾ inch thick
  • Sea or kosher salt
  • Pineapple Melon Salsa


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Whisk together 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lime juice, and chile powder until just combined. Place the fish in a single layer on a plate and rub both sides of each fillet with the oil mixture. Marinate for about 10 minutes, then salt the fish lightly on both sides.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy ovenproof skillet over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the fish and sear on one side, until it develops a nice golden crust. Turn the fish over and immediately place the pan in the hot oven for about 5 minutes, until just cooked through. Serve immediately on warm plates topped with the salsa and sprigs of cilantro, if desired.


If you like with fresh cilantro or mint sprigs