Pan-Roasted Sea Bass with Chive-Garlic Compound Butter

Pan-roasting is the ideal way to cook fish. You sear the fish until it has a nice golden crust and then you finish it in the oven to keep it moist and flaky.

This cooking technique works great for all types of fish…whether meaty fishes like swordfish, tuna, or salmon or more delicate fishes like flounder, sole, and orange roughy.

The trick is to always sear the flesh side down first and to not flip the fish until it has a good golden crust and easily releases from the pan.

Enjoy!

PS: Compound butter is simply butter with an added flavor or two mixed in. These butters are a very easy way to dress up a simple dish.

Pan-Roasted Sea Bass with Compound Butter

For the Chive-Garlic Compound Butter:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
2 tablespoons finely minced chives
1 clove garlic, minced
A pinch of Kosher salt

For the Pan-Roasted Sea Bass:
4 sea bass fillets (4 to 6 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

To prepare the Chive-Garlic Compound Butter:

In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the chives, garlic, and salt and mix until  thoroughly combined.

Spoon the mixture in the shape of a log onto a piece of parchment paper. Fold the paper over itself. Using your hands, shape the butter into a cylinder about 1 1/2 inches wide (almost like making a Tootsie Roll). Once it is shaped, twist the edges to seal it. Place in the freezer to set, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, slice the roll into 1/4-inch rounds and remove the parchment. (Only 4 slices of compound butter are need for this recipe.)

For the Pan-Roasted Sea Bass:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Generously season the sea bass with salt and pepper. In a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat, warm the oil until a few water droplets sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the skillet. Sear the sea bass, skin side up, until the meat is well browned and easily releases from pan, about 4 minutes. Flip over and cook until seared, about 1 minute. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the fish is medium-rare, about 5 minutes, or until desired doneness. 

Serve with a slice of compound butter on top.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Compound butter is simply butter with an added flavor or two mixed in. These butters are a very easy way to look like you went to a lot of trouble. In addition to fish, it is also delicious with potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, vegetables, and on steaks. Experiment with your favorite flavors. Examples of some of my other favorite compound butter combinations are Lemon Chive, Fresh Herb, Bacon Blue Cheese, Parmesan & Toasted Pine nut.

Do-Ahead: The rolled butter can be stored for up to 1 month in the freezer.

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Jennifer Chandler

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