Pan seared striped bass, freshly caught from Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia!
Dinner,  Food,  Seafood

Pan Seared Striped Bass

This pan seared striped bass, marinated in an aromatic blend of citrus and herbs, is a simple and flavorful addition to your weeknight meal plan!

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Pan seared striped bass, freshly caught from Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia!

We just returned to reality from Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

Gorgeous dark green trees line the five hundred miles of shoreline, and houses play hide and seek along the steep hills that surround the water.

An ideal relaxation spot, and a throwback to the good ol’ days when swimming, fishing and wild imaginations were enough to make kids happy during a family vacation.

Our rental house had a whimsical view of the lake, almost as though we were perched high up in a tree house with a picture frame through the leaves.

A little wisp of beach lined the bottom of our property’s sloping yard, making the perfect play spot for our young kids. While we love the beach, we have a soft spot for lake vacations, too.

To sum it up simply, we had a blast last week. My husband borrowed a small boat from a friend, which we were able to dock right at our house.

His goal? Catch enough fish for one meal during the week we were at Smith Mountain Lake.

Pan seared striped bass, freshly caught from Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia!


Sure, he broke the rod pulling this lovely striped bass into the boat, but once cleaned up (by yours truly and my mother, might I add), this one giant striper was enough to feed four hungry adults.

I won’t go into the details of actually cleaning the fish, but I will say that it took some muscle and involved knives and “man hands” (for all you Seinfeld fans). Definitely not for the squeamish…

Six beautiful, meaty fillets later—it was time to think prep and cook. I had a marinade in mind…

Pan seared striped bass, freshly caught from Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia!

But as far as cooking technique … what to do? Grill? Bake? Pan sear?

Ah … yes. Borrowing a technique from Anne Burrell, I decided a nice sear would go perfect.

Pan seared striped bass, freshly caught from Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia!

Pan seared striped bass, freshly caught from Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia!

Pan Seared Striped Bass

Yield: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Use the freshest fish you can find for this recipe!


  • 6 striped bass fillets, 1″ thick, skin on
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1/4 cup for the pan
  • 1 lemon, juiced & zested
  • 2 Clementines, juiced & zested
  • 1 teaspoon salt + 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine (make sure it tastes good enough to drink)
  • 1 lemon, sliced


  1. Place the bass fillets skin side down in a baking dish large enough to hold them without overlapping too much.
  2. Whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt with the remaining ingredients (except the sliced lemon) and pour the marinade over the bass, taking care to make sure each piece gets coated. Lay the lemon slices on top, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Take the bass out of the fridge 15 minutes before you’re ready to cook and pat the skin dry. Set aside on a plate to rest.
  4. Heat a large sautée pan over medium-high heat and add the 1/4 cup olive oil. Rub the bottom of a medium sautée pan (yes, the bottom—trust me here) with just enough olive oil to lightly coat it. Pour the marinade into a small sauce pot, add 1/4 teaspoon salt, and heat until bubbly over medium while you sear the fillets.
  5. When the large pan’s good and hot, add 3 of the fillets, skin side down. Place the medium pan on top of the fillets and press down gently. This keeps the bass from curling up, helping the skin get good and crispy. Cook for 4 minutes and then remove the medium pan. Continue cooking for 2 more minutes, then use a spatula to gently flip the fillets. Finish cooking for 2 more minutes and then remove from the pan.
  6. Repeat the searing process with the remaining 3 bass fillets, and serve with the warmed marinade.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 348Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 663mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 37g

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Last Updated on May 14, 2021 by Liza Hawkins

Hi, I'm Liza, a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting sucked into whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life, and as a foodie at heart, I relish the chance to both cook and eat. (No picky-eater here!) Always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect mojito and time to finish my novel!


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