Sea bass is a chef’s favorite and a staple in many of the world’s best seafood restaurants, with its rich, sweet taste and melt-in-your-mouth texture. And this pan-seared wild Chilean sea bass highlights all the best qualities this prized fish has to offer.

Holland America’s Executive Chef Sinu Pillai tells us the mildly flaky, ambrosial fish is one of the most popular options on board. And Vital Choice’s wild Chilean sea bass shines beautifully on its own, but cooking the fillets in high-quality olive oil further elevates its unforgettable flavor. With an undertone of fruity notes and a touch of heat, richness and depth is imparted into each bite.

On board, Pillai infuses the sea bass with what he calls the “essence of the Mediterranean.” Each fillet is served with an earthy and silky parsnip puree. Its inherent sweetness, along with slightly bitter notes from the arugula shines through, complementing the slightly nutty nuance of the sea bass. Combined, these flavors “harmonize the palate,” Pillai says.

sea bass recipe on plate

This delicious wild Chilean sea bass is now offered in Holland America’s Lido Market, a welcoming reprieve after a long day exploring ancient ruins, situated just steps from the Lido pool. “Opting for the sea bass during the winter season complements the warm destinations in which the ships are currently sailing,” Pillai says.

If you’re looking to elevate your dining experience even more, serve the fish with crispy skin, Pillai recommends.

Whether you’re eating this sea bass on board a cruise ship or in your own dining room at home, all it will take is one bite to make it one of your most cherished culinary memories.

Pan-Seared Wild Chilean Sea Bass

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Medium pot
  • Food processor
  • Medium skillet


  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (divided)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 pound parsnips (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 4 portions Vital Choice® wild Chilean sea bass (thawed)
  • 1 cup arugula leaves or microgreens
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


  • Preheat oven to 450℉ and adjust rack to the upper third. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss cherry tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, five sprigs of fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. Bake until tomatoes are blistered and beginning to burst, 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • Place parsnips in a medium pot, season with salt, and cover with half-and-half. Add garlic, bay leaf, and remaining thyme, then place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer parsnips to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, reserving the half-and-half. Add butter and enough half-and-half to achieve the texture of whipped cream when pureed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer back to pot and keep warm.
  • Remove fish portions from packaging, rinse gently, and pat dry with a paper towel. Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper.
  • In a heavy skillet on medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Place fish skin-side up in hot pan and cook undisturbed until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Flip fish over and cook until skin is golden brown and crispy, another 3-4 minutes.
  • To plate, arrange a generous spoonful of parsnip purée on each of the four plates and top with Chilean sea bass. Garnish with greens, lemon zest, roasted cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: fish, sea bass
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Vital Choice is proud to partner with Holland America as they expand their Global Fresh Fish Program to bring you wild-caught fish at home and at sea. Continue your world-class culinary journey from the cozy confines of home with this special collection of wild Alaska halibut, Pacific king salmon, and Chilean sea bass.


Janine Nyquist is a chef, recipe developer, and food stylist. She focuses on simple, thoughtful cooking and regularly shares her food and cooking adventures on her Instagram @janinenyquist. Raised Italian-American, food and family have always been at the forefront of Janine's life. In the kitchen, you can often find her dancing while sautéing, usually singing into a wooden spoon, and occasionally making a mess. Her philosophy is: expressing love through the transformation of simple ingredients and gathering together to make memories around the table. Janine lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her husband and two rainbow babies. When she is not in the kitchen she enjoys exercising, traveling, and sitting at cafes drinking oat milk lattes.

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