Could I BE any more excited to tell you about this fish?

Crisp Skillet Sea Bass with Pistachio Butter I

Probably not.

I want to jump through my screen and have at it; I’m annoyed that it’s not currently sitting in front of me because I want more. It’s light and rich and delicious and filling all at the same time. I can’t even stand it.


It’s so a Monday recipe too. Like hey, eff you Monday. It’s simple and versatile and loaded with flavor. We don’t eat sea bass often, but it is one of my husband’s favorites. I’ve been lucky enough to find some frozen wild caught pieces at Whole Foods and we have enjoyed them so, so much. Mercury smercury.

Crisp Skillet Sea Bass with Pistachio Butter I

Lately, we have been HOOKED on fish tacos. I’m talking at least once a week. Every kind of fish you can imagine, whatever good stuff I can get my hands on. But sea bass has so much flavor… and I didn’t want to lose the pistachio butter in a smashed taco, so I made… sort of… deconstructed tacos?

First though, the most important part: the butter. Oh mylanta. This crazy  butter is like the condiment of the gods. It is so fabulous. I mean, sure, I’ve been a tad bit pistachio infatuated the last, oh I don’t know, two years or whatever. But this is nuts. Pun so intended. It’s so fanfreakingtastic that I don’t even have words.

And it’s not even that big of a deal: roasted, salted pistachios, churned into crumbs and stirred into some softened sweet cream butter. Like I have died and gone to heaven. Seriously. I’m dead.

Crisp Skillet Sea Bass with Pistachio Butter I

We ate this fish with a slaw on the side. Actually, it’s kind of like a salsa. Hence why I have named it a “slawlsa.” It’s a salsa in slaw form. It’s ridiculously fresh and delicious and tastes like summer and Eddie is even eating on eggs in the morning. Weird, but a testament to the tastiness.

In addition to that, I threw together some makeshift tostadas. I simply crisped up a few tortillas and once they cooled, torn them into pieces. Seriously LOVE doing this. The rustic shape of this faux nacho makes it perfect for scooping up remnants on the plate. If you want to eat the fish with the tortilla, scooping some on top of the tortilla and eating in nontaco form keeps the flavors separate. It’s just SO good.

Crisp Skillet Sea Bass with Pistachio Butter I

Oh but P.S. you can totally do this with whatever fish you desire – other flakey white fish or your favorite tilapia. If you need to avoid high mercury fishies for any reason, make it your own.

The moral of the story is PISTACHIO BUTTER.

Crisp Skillet Sea Bass with Pistachio Butter I


Crisp Skillet Sea Bass with Pistachio Butter

Yield: serves 2 to 4

Total Time: 35 minutes


pistachio butter
1/4 cup roasted, salted pistachios
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

mango slawlsa
1 head napa cabbage, sliced
1 mango, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
the juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

crispy tortillas
4 (4-inch) flour tortillas
3 tablespoons olive oil

4 pieces raw sea bass, 1 1/2-2 inches thick (if using frozen, completely thaw and dry)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


To make the pistachio butter, add the pistachios to a food processor and pulse until small powdery crumbs remain. It's okay if there are a few larger pieces. Add the butter to a bowl and stir in the pistachios, mixing well to combine. I like the butter to be a bit chilled, so either place the bowl in the fridge or scoop the butter into a piece of plastic wrap and mold it into the shape you'd like before sticking it in the fridge. (Note: this makes a pretty good amount of butter so if you want less, cut the recipe in half. Or just save it and put it on EVERYTHING.)

To make the salsa/slaw, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to combine. Place the slaw in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the crispy tortillas, heat a large skillet (I like to use a cast iron skillet and then I'll cook the fish in the same one) over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil about 1 tablespoon at a time and once it's hot, add a tortilla to the skillet and cook on each side for about 1 minute. The tortillas should be golden and slightly puffy. Remove each from the skillet and allow them to rest on a paper towel to cool, then tear them into pieces.

Pat the fish completely dry with a paper towel - this is important because it helps the outside of the fish to crisp up. Season both sides of each piece with the salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. (If you love any other spices, you can add them in here.) Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. You want it hot. Once hot, add the olive oil and butter. As soon as the butter melts, add the sea bass into the skillet and cover, cooking for about 3 minutes. Gently flip the fish (it should be deeply golden and crisp on the skillet side - if it isn't, your skillet needs to be hotter) and cover the skillet again, cooking for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep the skillet covered for another 1-2 minutes. Remove the cover and scoop a small amount of pistachio butter on top of each filet. Serve immediately with the slaw and crispy tortillas.

Crisp Skillet Sea Bass with Pistachio Butter I

 Um look at that melty butter? Can’t even.

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85 Responses to “Crisp Skillet Sea Bass with Pistachio Butter.”

  1. #
    Nicole — March 4, 2014 @ 12:06 pm

    Only you can make bland white fish look this delicious!! Yum…


  2. #
    Cate @ Chez CateyLou — March 4, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

    The skin looks so crispy and delicious on this fish! And the pistachio butter?! Yum! What a delicious dinner!


  3. #
    RavieNomNoms — March 4, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

    That looks so amazing! I love crispy fish that is healthy too!


  4. #
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — March 4, 2014 @ 2:18 pm

    BAH, I have fallen behind on your blog & it’s making me sad!!! I mean, pistachio butter?! No wonder we’re invisible friends ;)


  5. #
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — March 4, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

    That perfectly crispy piece of fish is calling to me. And that butter… Yum!


  6. #
    Eileen — March 4, 2014 @ 6:44 pm

    Oh man, yes please! Pistachio butter? What?? This is going to have to happen at my house immediately!


  7. #
    Hannah @ Salted Crown — March 4, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

    This sounds INSANE! I cannot wait to try this!!!


  8. #
    Mimi @ Mimis in the Kitchen — March 4, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

    I love sea bass! but seriously the pistachio butter sounds just divine with it. Putting it on the menu this week for sure!


  9. #
    Pat — March 4, 2014 @ 10:24 pm

    Ahh…sea bass is one of my favorite fish and how lovely with the pistachio butter. You are so creative!


  10. #
    Megan in MI — March 4, 2014 @ 11:44 pm

    Oh my goodness! We were just in Miami (yeah, that was awesome…) and I had the BEST Sea Bass ever!! Actually, it was the first Sea Bass I had ever had, but still: my point is NOT to outshine your recipe but to say: DO IT PEOPLE!!! DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!!!!!! If Jess gives you a recipe, and it happens to include Sea Bass, you can not be disappointed!!! Pistachio butter…oh my good golly!

    Thank you for sharing…Sea Bass deserves some accolades and I know you won’t disappoint it (or us…or…oh geesh…)! make the fish!!!!


  11. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver}} — March 4, 2014 @ 11:57 pm

    Yes, it is possible to have an impossible to handle crush on fish. New level of fish love achieved!


  12. #
    Cookin Canuck — March 5, 2014 @ 11:25 am

    I am loving the moral of your story…pistachio butter. That sounds like it would make anything taste good!


  13. #
    Raven — March 5, 2014 @ 9:20 pm

    I made the fish and pistachio butter tonight. I am KICKING myself for giving up bread! So good!


  14. #
    Rachel — March 5, 2014 @ 10:18 pm

    OMG! This looks amazing. I love sea bass and this gives me yet another reason to make it. Just wish it wasn’t so expensive.


  15. #
    Todd | HonestlyYUM — March 6, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

    Slawlsa…YES!! Well played, Jessica. Well played.


  16. #
    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — March 6, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

    I am loving the pistacio butter!


  17. #
    Larry — March 7, 2014 @ 5:20 pm

    I want some pistachio-buttered toast. That sounds so dope. I’m starving. This looks amazing. You should be Sailor Mercury for Halloween. Loves it. ♥


  18. #
    Luana|Timeshare Weeks — March 12, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

    Amazing recipe, i love it, thanks for sharing!!


  19. #
    Sarah Danial — March 15, 2014 @ 8:21 am

    Crisp-skillet-sea-bass-with-pistachio-butter? I’m sold with just the way it looks. Seems to have been prepared with just the right temperature. I’m sure it’s going to just sort of melt in your mouth as you relish that unique bass meat taste. Wow!


  20. #
    Caren Carla — August 5, 2014 @ 7:33 am

    Yummy…. Recipe with amazing ingredients. I can say a perfect recipe of seafood.


  21. #
    Vickie Mayeux Dempster — September 5, 2014 @ 9:47 am

    Looks extremely tasty, although I am not so sure my husband will approve me eating with! (well I don’t have to tell him!) :)


  22. #
    Steph — September 15, 2015 @ 8:27 pm

    What other fish would work in place of sea bass? Not sure if I’ll be able to find it!



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