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Mediterranean Sea Bass

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This healthy Mediterranean Sea Bass is smothered in a piquant, healthy, Mediterranean-inspired sauce made from tomatoes, white wine, fennel and olives.

This healthy Mediterranean Sea Bass is smothered in a piquant, healthy, Mediterranean-inspired sauce made from tomatoes, white wine, fennel and olives.
Mediterranean Sea Bass Recipe

It has a light, moist texture, briefly pan-seared then quickly finished in the oven. The whole dish takes 35 minutes from start to finish, so it’s ideal for weeknight suppers yet elegant enough for company.

I received a ton of new cookbooks this Spring, so I am slowly making my way through them! This recipe is from the Mostly Plants Cookbook, which features 101 flexitarian recipes from the Pollan family. I gravitated towards this fish dish, because I love finding new ways to eat fish which I try to eat at least twice a week. You can see more of my fish recipes here.

The Mediterranean flavors of the sauce made from tomatoes, white wine, fennel and olives were delicious, I served it with some crusty bread to scoop up that sauce but you can eat it without.

Any white fish can be used in this recipe, I couldn’t find sea bass so I used halibut. Striped bass or cod would also be great.

This healthy Mediterranean Sea Bass is smothered in a piquant, healthy, Mediterranean-inspired sauce made from tomatoes, white wine, fennel and olives.

This healthy Mediterranean Sea Bass is smothered in a piquant, healthy, Mediterranean-inspired sauce made from tomatoes, white wine, fennel and olives.

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Mediterranean Sea Bass

4.96 from 22 votes
This healthy Mediterranean Sea Bass is smothered in a piquant, healthy, Mediterranean-inspired sauce made from tomatoes, white wine, fennel and olives.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
This healthy Mediterranean Sea Bass is smothered in a piquant, healthy, Mediterranean-inspired sauce made from tomatoes, white wine, fennel and olives.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1 fillet


For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fennel
  • One 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

For the fish:


  • Set the racks in the middle and upper thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 F

For the sauce:

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the fennel and cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent, an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes with their juices. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the basil, wine, olives, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened, while you prepare the fish.

For the fish:

  • Pat the fillets dry, lightly spray them with cooking spray,  and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a heavy ovenproof skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the fillets, rounded-side down, and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Carefully flip the fillets with a metal spatula and place the skillet in the oven. Bake until the fish is no longer translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Switch the oven to broil and place the skillet on the upper rack. Broil until the tops of the fillets are golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Arrange the fillets on individual plates, spoon on the sauce, and serve.

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 fillet, Calories: 362 kcal, Carbohydrates: 13.5 g, Protein: 42.5 g, Fat: 12.5 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Cholesterol: 90 mg, Sodium: 489 mg, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 7.5 g


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44 comments on “Mediterranean Sea Bass”

  1. I made just the sauce to use up some fennel I had and some tomatoes from my garden. I subbed out the olives for capers and served over spaghetti squash. This is the best sauce ever! It will be my go to for many, many dishes, including the sea bass when I have it.

  2. Avatar photo
    Julie Nielssen

    I haven’t made this yet, but my store didn’t have fennel so I bought Anise. After researching, I’m not sure I should use the anise and maybe just use celery instead. What do you recommend?

  3. I’ve been wanting to try this for some time now. I made it as written and would not change a thing! There are only two of us, but I made the entire sauce, and froze half for a future repeat dinner. My only question is the directions for the sauce says in step 1, to cook on medium heat, then Step 3 says to reduce to medium heat. Not sure if at some point, the heat should be higher or lower?

  4. Another fantastic recipe! Made this tonight and it was so good. That sauce 🤤. This one is definitely a keeper.

  5. Great sauce I’ve made for spaghetti sauce. I need to know if the cod loins can be cooked frozen or must be thawed first. Thank you.

  6. I made this re pie last night for dinner and it was really good. I added a pinch of sugar to balance it out and a bit of olive brine. Will definitely make again. Would be nice over pork tenderloin, too I think. 

  7. My whole family enjoyed this recipe. Even my picky teenager ate it all! I used cod instead of the sea bass.  It’s very easy to make and the fennel really makes this dish smell amazing! 

  8. Superb! The sauce is so aromatic and packs a punch of flavor! Hubby said it’s as good or better than any he’s had in a restaurant, including time he spent in Italy.

  9. I used the exact ingredients with Cod as my fish. I did not cook the fish separately. After about 8 minutes of cooking the sauce in the final stage, I lowered the seasoned (salt & pepper) and top sprayed (olive oil, or avocado oil) Cod into the sauce and simmered for about another 7 minutes. Then I put the fish in the sauce under a low temp broiler for about 3 or 4 minutes.  Perfection!  I served with mashed, pressured cooked, sour cream cauliflower .

  10. I made this last night. My husband and I loved it. A real keeper, we decided! I used tilapia and a whole cup of fennel. Served on a bed of couscous. Yum! Hubby didn’t even know it was “diet food”.

  11. We love this recipe.  I use cod  don’t cook the fish in the oven but bury it in the sauce until it done.  

  12. I’ve just cooked this recipe for myself & my husband using cod fillets. It’s absolutely amazing! Whenever I follow a skinnytaste recipient it always turns out perfectly & is delicious. 

  13. This is my new favorite fish recipe! The flavors in the
    sauce were so amazing. I also substituted some nice cod filets 
    filets I found at Whole Foods & served it with Trader Joe’s 
    mashed cauliflower & asparagus.  What a treat!
    Love you Gina! Thank you!

  14. This was soo good. Used cod. The sauce really made it. Served over pearl couscous but I think the crusty baguette is a better idea!!

  15. This recipe is *amazing*! Another slam dunk – totally restaurant-quality. I’m planning on inviting people over just to share this recipe :). I wouldn’t make it with sea bass again, because even though sea bass is a very meaty fish, I found it to be a bit overpowered by the sauce, and with sea bass clocking in at $30/pound where I live, I want to taste the sea bass a bit more (I prefer preparing sea bass per Gina’s Miso Black Cod with Shiitakes and Bok Choy recipe in One and Done). But I think halibut or cod would be amazing in this dish. Really can’t wait to make this again 🙂

  16. This was FANTASTIC!!! Made it with halibut. I added artichoke hearts and mushrooms to the sauce and a lovely salad on the side. As others have mentioned the sauce inspires so many uses and the flavor is amazing. If you are looking for a meal to impress guests or that special someone without a doubt cook this one!

  17. Avatar photo
    Terri Kennedy

    Made with halibut and it was simply amazing. I mean, I’ve never even tried cooking halibut before and this was better than I’ve ever had in a restaurant. I’ve never used fennel before either (had to google how to chop it) and I am so happy I didn’t leave it out. Served with rice and a salad. 

  18. I’m literally eating this right now and stopped to comment because it’s THAT good. So much flavor! 

  19. This is delicious and filling, and like many of the other recipes I’ve tried on here it’s a great base if you want to get creative and swap ingredients. The red pepper was a little mild for me, so when I make this again I might make it spicier. Capers would be a great sub, though I loved the kalamatas. I’ll probably double the olives next time to get more of that salty savory taste. The fennel flavor was pretty mild, in my opinion, but that wasn’t a problem. This would also be great the next day, or you could use the sauce for a Mediterranean omelette in the morning.

  20. I made this recipe last night and LOVED it. Made it as written, but did use Cod which I had on-hand. I steamed the COD and put the sauce over it. Easy to do. A company dish. I made a mistake and used 1/2 c of olives and I’ll continue to do that. They made a truly outstanding dish. I’m thinking of making just the sauce and freezing it as I can imagine many used. Thank you.

  21. This looks phenomenal! I’m all in for this recipe. Any fish with a tomato-based sauce rocks my world!

      1. Could you use a fennel seed from the spices section? I have never cooked with fennel but I have fennel seed in my spice drawer.