Grilled Black Sea Bass Recipe with Garden Salsa.

An easy summer recipe for cumin and garlic spiced black sea bass with a colorful tomato salsa. How gorgeous and summery does this look?

An overhead image of grilled black sea bass

Have you ever had black sea bass?

Black sea bass is a mild, lean, white fish with a moderately firm texture and a delicate flavor. It’s  a very good eating fish. Black sea bass is a bottom-feeding fish found along the US Atlantic Coast. You’ll often find it sold as a whole fish, because it tends to be on the smaller size – perfect for grilling or roasting whole. The filets of this black sea bass were about 5 ounces each, the perfect portion for 1.

We purchased these filets from our local fish market, The Clam Man, and they sourced this black sea bass from a local fishermen who catches these fish off the coast here in Falmouth.

An image of raw black sea bass

As a side note: last Thanksgiving we skipped the turkey and cooked a whole black sea bass on the grill instead. It was easy, so tasty and was so much better than a dry, gamey turkey! Even though cooking a whole fish is fun, it’s not for a quick weeknight meal.

This recipe, on the other hand, is perfect as a quick weeknight meal and comes together in less than 20 minutes.

How do you prepare the black sea bass?

You’ll pat the fish dry with a paper towel on both sides to remove excess moisture. Check the filets very carefully for pin bones. I found a bunch in these filets, so make sure you do a thorough job, especially if kiddos will be eating this. Then, drizzle in olive oil, sprinkle with cumin, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.

An image of raw black sea bass with seasoning

You can score the skin prior to grilling to prevent the flesh and skin from curling up, but this is optional.

Then, you’ll add the fish, skin side down, to a preheated and preoiled grill over medium high heat. Don’t skip oiling the grill, that will prevent the fish from sticking. These filets are very thin, so this black sea bass took only a few minutes on each side. You’ll want to cook it until it’s opaque and flakes easily, flipping after a few minutes.

The skin on black sea bass is edible, but you’ll want to make sure the scales have been removed. Or just simply scrape the skin off prior to eating.

A image of grilled black sea bass

How do you make the garden salsa?

To make this easy garden salsa you’ll combine:

  • tomatoes (these are from our garden)
  • red onion
  • cilantro
  • jalapeno
  • garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • lime juice
  • cumin
  • salt
  • black pepper

An image of garden salsa

Simply top the black sea bass filets with salsa and serve with lime wedges.

Here’s how to make this Black Sea Bass recipe:

Grilled Black Sea Bass Recipe

Jenny Shea Rawn
An easy summer recipe for grilled black sea bass spiced with cumin and garlic with a colorful tomato salsa.
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 283 kcal


  • 1 1/2 -2 pounds black sea bass filets (check filets carefully for pin bones), skin on, descaled
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the salsa

  • 2 medium tomatoes diced (or about 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved)
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and finely diced (if you prefer more heat, keep the seeds in)
  • 1/4 medium red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For serving

  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • Sea salt


  • Preheat grill to high heat. Clean and oil grates well (this will help prevent the fish from sticking). Pat fish dry with a paper towel. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, cumin, garlic and black pepper on both sides. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, cumin and pepper. Stir well. Add more salt to taste, if needed. Set aside. 
  • Place black sea bass on the grill, skin side down. Grill until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Flip halfway through cooking time. These filets tend to be thin, so they will cook quickly. Remove from grill. Spoon salsa over fish. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Serve with lime wedges and additional salsa. You can also sprinkle with feta cheese, for a salty, briny twist.


Black sea bass filets tend to have quite a few pin bones. Prior to grilling check filets carefully and pull out any pin bones with a tweezer or your fingers. 
You can also score the skin prior to grilling to prevent the flesh and skin from curling up, but this is optional.


Calories: 283kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 41gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 181mgSodium: 743mgPotassium: 785mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 903IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Black sea bass recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Looking for more great black sea bass recipes? Check out these 7 Black Sea Bass Recipes from my friend, colleague and fellow seafood lover, Craig Fear, over at Fearless Eating.

PIN this fish dinner for later:

A pin of a black sea bass recipe