Wondering what does sea bass tastes like? Read on!
Also, find out what makes this delicious fish special and how to select out of the day’s catch in this guide.
Sea basses are a type of saltwater fish that belongs to the family Serranidae and are found in shallower areas of warm and tropical seas, specifically in wrecks or reefs.
They’re dubbed by French people as the “wolf of the ocean” because of their voracity, eating whatever is available.
However, this powerful carnivore prefers feeding small fish, clams, shrimps, and other invertebrates.
They might be aggressive, but this fish variety is a staple at the dinner table across the globe and known for its versatility.
It can be steamed, poached, sauteed, grilled, and fried (as fillets or whole)—you name it!
Many considered them as “sport fish.”
Sea basses feature an elongated body with small scales, larger mouths, and straight-edged or rounded tails.
Meanwhile, sea bass color depends on the variety of the fish.
Some are black others are silvery.
Apart from the creamy-white flesh, you can also enjoy its skin, liver, and roe from the creamy-white flesh since they’re all edible.
Some sea basses have an unusual life cycle—they change sex with size.
Typically, males are those sea basses with large bodies, while smaller ones are female.
Here’s a deeper dive into the popular fish; this article also includes some varieties of sea bass and tips on cooking it for your upcoming feast.
If it’s your first time hearing about sea bass and you don’t know what it tastes like, generally, sea bass flavor is mild, delicate with meaty consistency and pleasing sweetness akin to cod (demersal fish) or grouper.
Moreover, sea bass doesn’t have an overly fishy taste or smell, making it an excellent choice for anyone with a sensitive palate.
Types of sea bass
As mentioned, sea bass belongs to the Serranidae family, including more than 400 species.
Below is the rundown of the most common sea bass you’ll find in the market.
Note: White and Chilean sea bass aren’t real sea bass
1. Black sea bass
Also dubbed as blackfish or rock bass, black sea bass features an oblong, stout body, large mouth, and dark fins with dusky spots.
Usually, black sea basses are black (obviously), but smaller individuals tend to have a dusky brown color.
They are delicious mild in flavor; they grow up to 24 inches and are good sauteed, baked, braised, and grilled.
2. Striped bass
Striped basses are a member of the Moronidae family, a subfamily of the Serranidae.
They have a silvery hue with olive-green on the back, a white belly, and a mild flavor profile similar to black sea bass.
They’re also called “stripers” because of their noticeable dark stripes.
3. Hybrid striped bass
Hybrid striped bass is a cross between striped bass and white bass.
They share similar features to their two parent species.
However, you’ll notice their broken stripes pattern and deeper body shape.
4. European sea bass
The European sea bass is also part of the Moronidae family, similar to striped bass.
The fish features a silvery grey to bluish color with a belly sometimes colored yellow.
Its flaky meat is pinkish with raw and turns opaque white when cooked.
Also, this fish has a mild and sweet taste, perfect for grilling, roasting, and searing.
How to buy sea bass
Before purchasing sea bass in the fish market, always remember that the key to a great dish lies in the ingredient’s freshness.
Fish are incredibly fragile; once you take them out of the water, their quality and freshness begin to deteriorate.
So choosing the freshest sea bass to buy is significant.
To give you a quick guide, here are the things you need to consider when buying the versatile fish:
- Look for a bass that has bright or shiny eyes. If the eyes are cloudy, people harvested them already more than five days ago.
- Purchase the ones that have moist, clean, and bright pink gills. Their scales should be firmly attached to their skin, too.
- Seek out basses with firm and elastic bodies and slightly red cheeks.
- Avoid those with bruises and dark red spots, as these are signs of mishandling.
- Avoid sea basses with an unpleasant odor; they should smell moist and sea-fresh.
Pro tip: Some sea bass varieties are best in specific seasons.
For instance, the best seasons to have black sea basses are winter and fall, as they still have enough fat before migrating offshore.
Tips on cooking sea bass
Here are some nifty tips on cooking sea bass at home:
- Sea basses have sharp fins and thick scales so ensure to remove them before cooking. You can remove their skin or let them as is.
- Make sure to remove the gills when cooking whole. Leaving them inside lends a bitter aftertaste to your recipe.
- When roasting or barbecuing a whole bass, wrap the fish in foil to keep the fish from drying out.
- Sea basses are versatile; they complement well with herbs and vegetables.
- When cooking sea bass fillets, ensure that they’re pin-boned carefully before cooking.
Is sea bass fishy
No. As mentioned, sea bass doesn’t have that overly fishy taste or smell, making it one of the great choices to those who aren’t major fish fans.
The bottom line
Sea bass is delicious fish that’s used in many culinary applications, thanks to its versatility.
Its distinctively sweet and mild flavor has made it a popular ingredient among cooks.
For fish lovers, it’s a culinary treasure and a must-try gem.
If you haven’t tried sea bass at all, you better not forget to include this fish on your grocery list (if you’re lucky to have fresh one nearby)!