Mediterranean Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Bulgur Wheat

This is a really delicious way to serve sea bass with lots of delicious flavors from the Mediterranean.

Taking just under 1 hour altogether, it’s perfect as a healthy way to get your fatty fish into your diet, as well as multiple servings of fruit and vegetables. 

Topped off with a mix of herbs, it makes for an easy and delicious evening meal.

Fish in general is a great food to eat, but bass, in particular, offers some excellent nutritional value.

It contains the essential omega-3 fatty acids many of us don’t get enough of, whilst also being a great source of protein and selenium. Vitamin B6, magnesium and phosphorus are also found in good amounts.

This dish contains multiple servings of hearty fruits and vegetables that will keep you full.

Eggplant (aubergine) contains lots of fiber and a good amount of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium, plus they contain lots of antioxidants.

Courgettes (zucchini) contains is very high in vitamin A, with one cup (223g) of cooked zucchini containing 40% of your daily recommended intake. They also contain lots of manganese, vitamin C and potassium.

Bell peppers are very high in vitamin C. One bell pepper provides up to 169% of your recommended daily intake (RDI). Other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K1, vitamin E, vitamin A, folate, and potassium are also found in good amounts.

Tomatoes are full of antioxidants and contain lots of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and folate.

Bulgur wheat is a popular ingredient used in various traditional Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a whole grain, meaning it is a healthy alternative to white grains and is full of fiber.

When cooked, it has a similar consistency to couscous or quinoa.

In terms of substitutions, quinoa is a good choice instead of bulgur wheat. It is high in protein and one of the few plant food that contains all nine essential amino acids. It has also a high concentration of fiber, iron, and potassium.

Roasted fennel would be a great addition, as would fresh basil. This would also work well with different fish – salmon or cod would also work well.

You can use white and yellow onions instead of red ones. The white and yellow onions have a mellow flavor compared to the red onions. The onions would get sweeter as it cooks and adding a depth of flavor to the bulgar wheat.

Mediterranean Pan-Seared Seabass

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 4
Calories 707 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 eggplant (aubergine), cut iinto small chunks
  • 2 courgettes, cut into small chunks
  • 2 red peppers, cut into small chunks
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 300 g bulgur wheat
  • small pack of parsley, roughly chopped
  • small pack of dill, roughly chopped
  • 2 zest and juice of lemons
  • 75 g pine nuts, toasted
  • 4 sea bass fillets

Instructions
 

  • Step 1: Roast the Vegetables Preheat your oven to 220°C (200°C fan) gas mark 7. Add the aubergine, courgette, red pepper and oregano to a large roasting tray. Drizzle over 2tbsp of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast on the top shelf of your oven until beginning to turn golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Stir the tomatoes vegetables and roast until the tomatoes are bursting and everything is cooked through a further 20 minutes. Side notes The type of roasting tray you use will dictate how long this takes. A wide shallow tray is ideal for roasting vegetables like this as the heat will be able to circulate evenly whereas if you use a high-sided tray the vegetables will steam and it will be harder to get a lovely caramelization on them.
  • Step 2: Cook the Bulgur Wheat Meanwhile, heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add the bulgur wheat and water, season with salt and pepper and cover with a lid. Bring to a simmer then turn the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for 12-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat.
  • Step 3: Finish the Bulgur Wheat When the vegetables are roasted, add the bulgur wheat to a large bowl and stir through the roasted vegetables, parsley, dill, lemon juice and zest and pine nuts. Taste and season with more salt and pepper then set aside while you cook the fish.
  • Step 4: Cook the Sea Bass To cook the sea bass, pat the fillets dry with kitchen paper to get rid of any excess moisture. Heat the remaining 1tbsp olive oil in a large non stick frying pan and over a high heat. Season the fish with salt and paper before placing it in the hot pan. This will create a crust in the fish. Salt helps in bringing out natural flavors. Once hot, add the sea bass fillets skin side down. Season with salt and pepper and press the fillets down to get a golden crispy skin, 2-3 minutes, then turn the fillets and cook for a further 2 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Season the skin with salt and pepper. Divide the bulgur wheat mixture between plates then top with the sea bass fillets and serve with lemon wedges. Side notes: Patting the fish dry will help to ensure a nice crispy skin and will help to prevent the fish from sticking to the pan as it cooks. As sea bass cooks it tends to spring up as a reaction to the heat so pressing it down with a spatula helps to ensure that the skin gets contact with the hot pan which helps to crisp the skin up. If your pan isn’t big enough you can do this in batches because if the pan gets too overcrowded the fish will steam rather than fry and it will be more difficult to get a crispy skin.

Nutrition

Serving: 4gCalories: 707kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 39gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 124mgFiber: 22gSugar: 10g
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