Impress your date with SER Chef David Sierra’s recipe for sea bass in a garlic and parsley sauce

As Valentine’s Day approaches, WTOP asked local chefs to share their favorite quick and easy recipes that readers can learn and cook from for their friends and significant others. SER Executive Chef David Sierra demonstrated how to make sea bass in a garlic and parsley sauce.

For those who may be unfamiliar with sea bass, Sierra says that home cooks can swap the fish for another option, maybe dover sole, cod, hake, halibut, rockfish or even tilapia. When tasting the dish, Sierra describes it as a fragrant, delicate, melt-in-your-mouth experience. It’s a surprisingly simple recipe that is sure to impress. Be sure to serve the dish with bread to soak up the sauce, and, of course, a glass of your choice of white wine.

SER is an award-winning, family-owned restaurant in Arlington, Virginia’s Ballston neighborhood. The restaurant focuses on authentic Spanish cuisine. The next time you visit, don’t miss out on the raw bar or the variety of cheeses and cold-cut meats also available to guests.

To see a demonstration of the following recipe, check out the above video, filmed at SER.

Sea Bass in a Garlic and Parsley Sauce

By SER Executive Chef David Sierra
  • 2 sea bass fillets  
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (plus a bit more to coat the fish) 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoon sherry or white wine
  • 3 or 4 cups fish stock
  • 4 tablespoon green peas
  • 10-12 cockle clams or little neck clams
  • 1 tablespoon fine chopped Italian parsley 
  • Salt to taste 
  1. Pour the olive oil In a sauté pan, and add the chopped garlic. Set the stove to medium high heat, and wait until the garlic is fragrant (about 1 minute). Make sure the heat is not too high to avoid the garlic to golden before adding the fish. 
  2. Sprinkle some salt on the fish, and bread it with all purpose flour. Add to the pan, and let it cook slowly for a minute. Flip the fish fillets, and add the clams and 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour. Wait until the flour is dissolved, and add the sherry wine and 3 cups of fish stock.  
  3. Reduce the heat to low, and let it cook for 5 minutes. Flip the fish again, add the green peas, and let it cook for 3 to 4 more minutes.
  4. If the sauce starts to break (olive oil separating from the stock), use the 1 cup of leftover fish stock to make it smooth again.  
  5. During the last minute of cooking, add the chopped parsley, and stir everything by shaking the pan on a circular motion, avoiding using utensils inside the pan to not break the fish.  
  6. Serve the fish using a spatula. Add the clams, and pour a good amount of the sauce over the ingredients. Enjoy!

Additional notes

You can substitute sea bass for any other kind of white flaky fish. Just be aware of the difference in time cooking depending on the thickness.  Dover sole, cod, hake, halibut or even rockfish will work with this sauce that is easy, fast, healthy and will make everyone think you spent hours prepping this meal.  
Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of "D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for Artsplained on YouTube.

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