Medallions of Sea Bass in Lime Garlic Sauce

Medallions of Sea Bass in Lime Garlic Sauce Recipe

Sea bass has a very luxurious, delicate, buttery texture. I usually cook this particular fish when we have dinner parties. For this occasion, I smothered the fish in a garlic lime chipotle chili sauce and paired it with orange bell pepper, onions and non pareil capers. I served braised fennel on the side. I didn't do it this time, but if you want to maintain the exotic theme, you could also serve plantains.

I grilled the sea bass medallions and finished baking them in the oven for optimum tenderness. The seafood dish is flavorful, yet still pretty healthy. That means you and your dinner guests can enjoy the meal and feel good about it too!


Yields: 4 servings

4 (8-ounce) medallions of sea bass
1-½ tablespoons ginger garlic paste (click on the link for the recipe)
2 chipotle peppers, drained, seeded and finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 lime
1 grapefruit
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-½ tablespoons light corn syrup (or honey)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or regular salt)
1 yellow onion
2 orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced
3 tablespoons sweet basil leaves
2 tablespoons non pareil capers (see tips)
½ teaspoon black pepper


One day ahead:

Zest and juice the lime.

Blanch the lime zest (dip for a minute in boiling water then transfer to an ice bath). Repeat twice. This helps  to lower the bitterness of the fruit. Drain and pat dry the lime zest with a paper towel and finely chop. Set aside.

Juice the grapefruit. Be sure to remove the pulp, using a strainer. Place the grapefruit juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 5-6 minutes. The liquid should reduce to about 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice. Remove from the heat.

In a mortar and pestle, grind the lime zest, chipotle peppers and 2 teaspoons of garlic into a paste. Add the corn syrup, ginger garlic paste, Worcestershire sauce, concentrated grapefruit juice and lime juice. Reserve about 3 tablespoons of marinade in a small bowl.

Clean and skin the sea bass. Pat dry using a paper towel. Place the fish in a  small, deep dish. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and the garlic lime marinade. Spread the mixture all over the fish. Make sure all the marinade penetrates and coats the fish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Plastic wrap the dish and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Remove the fish from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking to bring it back to room temperature. Remove the fish from the dish and pat dry the excess garlic lime marinade. Season with more kosher salt.

In a non-stick pan that can be used in the oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and cook 2 cloves of  garlic until it is slightly golden. Add the fish and sear it. Cook for about 6-8 minutes. Flip the fish using a large spatula. Cook for another 2 minutes. Using a silicone brush, baste the fish with the rest of the garlic lime marinade .

Immediately transfer to the oven. Bake for 6-8 minutes until golden. The marinade should be totally absorbed. Baste the fish one more time with the rest of the garlic lime marinade.

In another pan, heat the rest of olive oil. Sauté the onions in the oil for about 3-4 minutes over high heat, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown but the onions are still crunchy. Season with salt. Transfer to a platter.

In the same pan, add the sliced orange bell peppers and toss them until they soften. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the caramelized onions, capers, sweet basil and reserved garlic lime sauce.

On a serving platter, lay the medallions of sea bass on a bed of the bell peppers and onions. Garnish with lime wedges. Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

Chilean Seabass Recipe with Picture


The secret to well-cooked sea bass is to pre-sear it on top of the stove. This will create a caramelized crust around the fish.

I used canned chipotle peppers. You could increase the amount of chiles if you want it fiery.

You can use regular capers but I prefer non pareil capers. They are native to the South of France. This variety has a sharp, piquant and briny aroma. I bought them in a specialty store but you can also find them online. I love using capers; they add a nice salty and sour note to sauces and salads.

For a more casual dinner, you could use swordfish steaks or tuna.

I used fresh grapefruit to provide natural sweetness and a hint of tang to the sauce. You could also use other acidic fruit juice such as kiwi, pomegranate or pineapple.

You could skip the concentrated grapefruit juice step but the flavor of the citrus won't be as intense.


Published By: Jacqueline Pham on April 19, 2010.


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