This sea bass with soy glaze and cucumber salsa relies on a simple technique for stunning results. And if you worry that simple begets simple, that’s not the case with this recipe. Simply sear the fish until browned but not cooked through. Then, as one of our testers explained, you pour on the sauce to essentially steam the fish to doneness and reduce the sauce to a syrupy glaze. Sorta brilliant. Serve with rice noodles, cooked rice, even mashed potatoes.

A piece of sea bass topped with soy glaze and cucumber salsa on a square shaped white plate.

Sea Bass with Soy Glaze

5 / 20 votes
This sea bass with soy glaze and cucumber salsa is a simple, healthy meal of pan-fried fish with a salty-sweet, soy-mirin glaze and a cooling cucumber salsa.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories358 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time35 minutes


For the cucumber salsa

  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari to make it gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine

For the fish

  • Six (3- to 6-ounce) skinless sea bass fillets (preferably wild striped bass or you can substitute cod or black cod)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


Make the cucumber salsa

  • In a bowl, combine the cucumber, soy sauce, vinegar, scallions, and cilantro. (You can cover and refrigerate the cucumber salsa for up to 24 hours.)

Make the soy glaze

  • In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and wine. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Pour the sauce into a small bowl.

Cook the fish

  • If desired, dredge the fish in the flour. Heat a skillet on medium-high until hot. Add the olive oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Cook the fish for 2 1/2 minutes on each side, until browned. Reduce the heat to medium, pour in the sauce mixture, cover, and cook, just until the fish is opaque throughout, 5 to 6 minutes more.
  • Carefully transfer the fillets to a platter or individual plates and spoon the sauce from the skillet over the top. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve immediately, spooning the cucumber salsa on the fsh or passing it on the side.
Christina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love

Adapted From

Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 358 kcalCarbohydrates: 23 gProtein: 33 gFat: 14 gSaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gCholesterol: 136 mgSodium: 633 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 12 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 Cristina Ferrare. Photo © 2011 Todd Porter and Diane Cu. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Being the huge sea bass fan that I am, I immediately loved the simple presentation laid out in this recipe. The fish turned out moist and oh so flavorful, plus the sauce was like an Asian-flavored caramel.

I’d most certainly make this dish again, however I think I would select a less costly piece of fish.

What can I say about this recipe? WOW! I actually decided to make it as an appetizer over Thai rice noodles. I’m sure that it’s also amazing over mashed potatoes, but I must say that it was absolutely amazing over the noodles. Very mild, filled with delicate flavors, and so very simple to make. The cucumber salsa was a perfect addition to the full experience. This is a recipe I will make very often, both as an appetizer as well as a main course.

For such a simple recipe, the results are spectacular.

The only small change I would make is to use just a bit less sugar, and maybe add a sprinkle of cilantro over the fish. The only complaint from my tasters was that the portions were quite small as we used 3-ounce fillets, which is not a lot of fish per person.

This is definitely an easy recipe to whip up, especially on a busy weeknight or a even on a weekend. The cucumber salsa had a mild flavor. I felt it needed a pinch of salt to balance all the flavors. I found the soy glaze a little too sweet. I would like to either reduce the sugar or offset it with some ginger or red pepper flakes.

Otherwise it was a delicious recipe to make. I did omit dredging the fish in flour. I made sure the fish was patted dry, then pan-fried it and added the glaze. It presented no problem. I cooked the fillets for 2 minutes on each side. After the sauce was poured in, the fish took about 6 minutes to be done.

This recipe read like it would be a simple, quick recipe for a weeknight dinner and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. The cucumber salsa nicely balanced the sweet sauce and the fish. After browning the fish, I was a little hesitant to pour on the sauce and essentially steam it, but the sauce reduced quickly in the few minutes that the fish needed to finish cooking, producing more of a syrup than “pan juices.” This actually left the fish still a bit crusty and browned—a very nice combination. Maybe I’d use a little less sugar next time.

What a lively looking and tasting dish! Separately, the cucumber salsa and the fish with glaze are great. But together? And sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds besides? My, my, my. The varied textures are fun and delectable. The coolness of the cucumber and scallion salsa complements the punchy flavor of the glaze. I love that in each bite you taste something different, yet it all comes together.

We can never get sea bass here, so I used cod, which stands up well to powerful glazes. The flour for sautéing the fish is optional, but I used just a smidgen rice flour. If anyone in your family thinks fish can be “fishy,” get them to try this. I’ll bet they can’t say that with this dish!

So simple and yet so spectacular. The sea bass is moist and tender, and the salsa is refreshing. A perfect accompaniment. Note: The salsa tastes a bit blah on its own, but it’s perfect with the fish. And it improves overnight. All around, a home run!

This is a nice alternative to takeout as it takes less time to make than it would to order it and wait for the delivery. Also, this can easily be scaled down for one person.

I love to sauté fish. For anyone unsure of themselves, adding the sauce to the pan ensures the fish is cooked and stays moist. The sauce is similar to teriyaki and it glazes the fish nicely. I served the bass with mashed potatoes as the recipe suggests, even though my intention was to make steamed rice.

I found the serving size of 3 ounces of bass per person optimistic. The three of us ate two pieces each. I would make this again but I would punch it up by adding some ginger and garlic to the sauce. The cucumber salsa was a refreshing addition and added some much-needed texture to the softness of the fish and mashed potatoes.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Just made this for dinner last night and it was one of the best ways I have eaten sea bass. I love Asian-inspired flavours and this sauce seemed similar to a teriyaki sauce. This flavour goes really well with a light mild fish like sea bass. I served this with rice and steamed broccoli. The cucumber salsa was a refreshing delight too!