Pan-Seared Bass with Garlic Scape Salmoriglio

Salmoriglio is a traditional Southern Italian sauce, and its pungent, acidic, herbal bite complements sweet summer tomatoes and light striped bass. Substitute the bass with another sweet, mildly fatty fish; too rich of a fish will overpower the sauce and potatoes.

Pan Seared Bass with Garlic Scape Salmoriglio
Photo: Victor Protasio
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 2 to 3 garlic scapes (or 1 garlic clove and 3 scallions)

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), divided

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 fresh bay leaf

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 (5-ounce, 1-inch-thick) skin-on striped bass, black sea bass, or bluefish fillets, patted dry with paper towels

  • 1 cup chopped tomato

  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 cup loosely packed arugula

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Rinse garlic scapes, and pat dry with paper towels. Trim and discard woody ends and curly tops. Cut scapes into 1/8-inch-thick slices to equal 1/3 cup. (If using scallions and garlic, slice scallions to equal 1/3 cup, and thinly slice garlic to equal 1 teaspoon.) Combine garlic scapes, olive oil, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water, dried oregano, red pepper, and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring often, until mixture is softened and darkened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf; stir in lemon zest.

  2. Cut 2 shallow diagonal slashes across skin of each fillet; arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush both sides of fillets with 3 tablespoons garlic scape oil, and season with salt to taste. Stir tomato and fresh oregano into remaining oil; set salmoriglio aside.

  3. Preheat oven to 450°F. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high until very hot, about 4 minutes. Add vegetable oil; heat until very hot, about 1 minute. Add fillets, skin sides down. Press fillets gently with a spatula. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until skin begins to brown around edges, about 4 minutes. Transfer skillet to preheated oven, and roast until fish is opaque and just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Flip fillets, and divide among 4 plates, skin sides up. Spoon salmoriglio evenly over each fillet. Sprinkle servings with arugula and parsley.

Suggested Pairing

Crisp Sicilian white.

Related Articles