Sea Bass with Tomato and Black Olive Salsa


Sophie Dahl calls this a "good date dinner" because it's elegant yet easy. The Mediterranean-style salsa on the fish—a mix of olives, tomatoes, basil, and lemon juice—would be equally delicious on its own as a salad.

Sea Bass with Tomato and Black Olive Salsa
Photo: © Jan Baldwin
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


  • Four 5-ounce black sea bass fillets

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped (4 ounces)

  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill

  • 1 teaspoon minced red chile


  1. In a medium bowl, rub the sea bass fillets with 2 tablespoons each of the lemon juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the olives with the tomatoes, basil, dill and chile. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Pat the fish dry and add it to the skillet, skin side down. Cook the fish over high heat until the skin is browned, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the fish is just white throughout, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer the fish to plates and top with the salsa.

Make Ahead

The salsa can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Suggested Pairing

The Mediterranean flavors of this sea bass dish—tomatoes, black olives, fresh herbs—go particularly well with dry rosés, such as those of southern France.

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