David Scott AllenFish & SeafoodMain CourseProvencal RecipesTaste

Grilled Sea Bass with Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce originates from the fishing community in Catalonia, Spain. A place where red peppers, garlic and a bit of piment are well-entrenched in the local cuisine. For this recipe for grilled sea bass, I needed a sauce with enough flavour to enhance the fish without being overpowering. Also, the dish needed to pair well with a rosé from Commanderie de Peyrassol. But, as you know, I like a challenge, and this one was a bit of culinary architecture. The result is a delicious romesco-inspired sauce with grilled sea bass.

Grilled Sea Bass Romesco

Grilled, Herbed Chilean Sea Bass with Romesco

This Romesco-esque sauce is a take on the pungent Spanish version which includes garlic (which we don't eat) and almonds. My version includes pistachio paste and culinary lavender buds for a touch of Provence.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 4 people


For the Romesco Sauce:

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 3 large Roma tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Ají Amarillo purée or 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 tbsp Pistachio paste or other nut paste
  • 1/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/4 Lime
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

For the Fish:

  • 2 sprigs Fresh Basil
  • 10 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1 tsp culinary lavender buds
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs Chilean sea bass 1-inch thick, in four pieces
  • Fresh Parsley chopped for garnish


To Make the Romesco-esque Sauce:

  • Heat your grill to high.
  • Blacken the red pepper on all sides.
  • When fully black, remove from the grill and place in a paper bag. Close and let pepper steam for 10 minutes.
  • While pepper is steaming, grill the tomatoes on all sides until blackened and split.
  • Cut tomatoes in half and remove the blackened skin and any seeds.
  • Place tomato pieces in a blender.
  • Remove pepper from the bag, then peel or scrape off the blackened skin, remove ribs and seeds. Place pepper in the blender.
  • Add ají amarillo, nut paste, olive oil, lime, and salt. Purée until smooth and light in color, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

To Cook the Fish:

  • Trim the fish into equal 6-ounce portions and place in a shallow baking dish.
  • Finely chop the basil, thyme, and lavender buds together and place in a small bowl.
  • Add the salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spoon over the fish, turn to coat, and marinate for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium-high - about 400°F/200°C.
  • When hot, oil the grates then grill fish for 4 minutes on the first side and three minutes on the flip side. (You will see the fish becoming opaque as it cooks.)
  • Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the sauce onto the plates, then top with fish and garnish with chopped parsley.


* Chilean sea bass is technically not a Bass but a cold-water fish called the Patagonian toothfish. A good substitute is sablefish, also known as black cod (lieu noir).
Fish Names Translated into French:
bream (gilt-head) = la dorade royale
cod = le cabillaud
salt cod = la morue
hake = le merlu
halibut = le flétan
monkfish = la lotte
seabass = le bar also known as loup de mer
Keyword Peppers, Seafood Recipes, Tomatoes
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David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen is the author, photographer, and cook behind Cocoa & Lavender, a weekly food blog based in Tucson, Arizona. Passionate about travel, he especially enjoys eating traditional foods and learning local customs, whether in the United States or around the globe.

David's first trip to France took place when he was 14, and he returned as often as possible thereafter. However, it wasn't until his 50th birthday that he finally made it south to Provence. The beauty, history, charm, warmth, cuisine, and - of course - the rosé wines captured his heart. He shares his Provençal recipes here on Perfectly Provence, and his food and wine pairings monthly on the Provence WineZine.

David is a firm believer that sharing a meal with friends around the table is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if it happens to be in Provence, all the better!

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