Fast and Easy Fish: Striped Bass with Corn and Jumbo Lump Crab Sauté

One of the commitments I made to myself at the beginning of the year was to cook more seafood. All of the reports can’t be denied – it’s better for me (and you) all around. Even so, I’ll ruefully admit that I’m not the biggest fan of fish. I love scallops and mussels, but straight-up fish isn’t always at the top of my list. For some reason it just doesn’t excite my taste buds as much as I really want it to – or at least most preparations don’t. Okay, I do enjoy a good fish fry as much as any good southern girl does, but the emphasis in that scenario is on the “fry” and not so much the “fish”. I’m also all about raw sushi-grade Ahi tuna in every possible preparation, but I can only take in so much mercury. I knew to add more fish variety into my diet I’d need to find dishes that were interesting (i.e. beyond standard pan fried or steamed filets) but at the same time easy to pull off. I’m happy to report that I’ve found a keeper.

This recipe is a riff on this Black Sea Bass with Corn and Jumbo Lump Crab Sauté from Food Network. The fish sits atop a bed of colorful, fresh vegetables that you cook just through so they keep their crispness. The crab gives the sauté a rich, decadent taste with absolutely no extra work on your part. All together, the combination of flavors is fun and in no way boring. Although the ingredient list is a little long (12 ingredients), the techniques involved are very straight forward. First you pan fry a fish and then you make a quick veggie and crab sauté to serve with it. None of these techniques is tricky even if you’ve been cooking for just a short while, so it’s a very safe recipe with beautiful results. It’s fast too. Chopping the veggies for the sauté is the most time-consuming part of the whole recipe.

My take on the recipe deviates from the original in four ways:

  • I substituted striped bass for sea bass simply because striped bass is $10 per pound less expensive at my fishmonger right now. Until I’m really comfortable with any technique or ingredient I try not to splurge on the best I can buy. After making the dish I’m pretty sure you could substitute any fish you’d like and be happy with the results.
  • I reworked the recipe proportions to be more practical for an at home meal for two. This recipe was created by restaurant chef at Doris and Ed’s Restaurant so it makes a huge single portion. I wanted something sized for a weeknight at home that would be filling but not overly so.
  • I reduced the fat. One of the points of eating fish and vegetables is to be healthy and the original recipe had more fat than I really wanted. I used less of both olive oil and butter and the dish turned out just fine.
  • I left out the potatoes. The original recipe recommends serving this dish with roasted fingerling potatoes. I did that and for whatever reason they just didn’t compliment the dish as much as I thought they would. Because the vegetable sauté includes corn and peppers it provides both veggies and carbs, so I’d stick to serving this as a meal by itself. Besides, when your main is this healthy, you can have dessert too.

I’m pleased with the outcome of the dish and my modifications to it. It was so great to look at when I first made it that I couldn’t wait to try it, and thus forgot to snap a picture. I’ll be sure to do it next time I make the recipe.

Striped Bass on Foodista Learn morea bout striped bass

Recipe: Striped Bass with Corn and Jumbo Lump Crab


  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Serves: 2 (double to serve four)
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Weight Watchers ™ Points: 11*


  • 2 5oz. striped bass filets, skin on
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 ears fresh corn cut from the cob
  • ½ c. diced red onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. diced poblano pepper
  • 4 oz. jumbo lump crab, picked through
  • 2 Tbsp. minced chives
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ¾ c. chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp. cold butter
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Make 2-3 small cuts in the skin of the filets with a sharp knife then turn the fish over and season the flesh with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over high heat and add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil to the pan. The pan should be very hot. Heat the oil until it smokes.
  3. Place the fish skin-side down in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook for 1 ½ – 2 minutes until the skin is crisp. Flip the fish and cook for another 3 to 3 ½ minutes. Move the fish to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  4. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan along with the corn, onion, and red and poblano peppers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute for 1 – 2 minutes until the onion begins to soften.
  5. Add the crab meat, chives, and thyme, stirring just to blend. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Whisk in the butter.
  7. Raise the heat back to high and boil until the broth reduces by half and the mixture is a sauce consistency, about 3-4 minutes. Check for seasoning one last time and adjust as necessary.
  8. To plate, arrange the crab and vegetable mixture in a shallow bowl. Top with the warm fish filet.

Recipe for Success

  • Use fresh fish if you can, not frozen. If you can’t get bass, or don’t like bass, pick any other white-fleshed fish; trout or snapper would work well.
  • Take some extra time to cut the onion and peppers into a nice, even dice. Not only will they cook more evenly, the final presentation will be prettier.
  • I haven’t tried this recipe with frozen corn but it will probably do if you can’t get fresh. The sauté will be a little less crunchy and it may take a little longer for the final sauce to reduce because of the extra water from the frozen corn.
  • Be sure your pan and oil are smoking hot when you put the fish in for the first sear. If the pan isn’t hot enough the fish will stick to the pan.
  • When you sauté the fish on the skin side, use a spatula to press the fish into the pan. This helps crisp the skin.

*Points Details

  • Because this is a one-dish meal I’m okay with the double-digit points. However, if you want to reduce the points you can do a couple of things to get the points down to 7:
    • Reduce the olive oil to 1 Tbsp. total and cook the dish in a non-stick skillet. The skin on the fish won’t crisp up quite a much but it will still taste great. I wouldn’t eliminate the fat entirely because it is an important flavor carrier in the dish.
    • Cut the butter to 1 tsp. You’ll get some of the benefit of the butter finish but the sauce won’t be quite as luxurious.
    • Reduce the crab to 2 oz. You’ll still have a hint of crab. If you keep the crab at 4 oz. the dish is 8 points.

What to Drink
Any crisp white wine will go well with this dish. I would avoid a big California Chardonnay only because the butter in the wine will compete too much with the subtle richness of the crab in the sauté. I recently had a 2006 Willm Pinot Blanc from Alsace that would be a great match.