Wild Sea Bass with Salmoriglio

Salmoriglio is a pungent marinade-come-sauce from Sicily. It is traditionally made with oregano though I generally use marjoram, as we have a profusion in our vegetable garden during the summer. You can make the sauce a few days in advance – leaving the flavours to mature and intensify at room temperature (not in the fridge) – but add the lemon juice just before you are ready to use it. In the summer, I often serve this fish dish simply with sliced perfectly ripe tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, and really good, chewy peasant-style bread.

Recipe Author:

Skye Gyngell
My Favourite Ingredients
Photography by Jason Lowe
Reproduced courtesy of Quadrille publishing


Category:  Main Course  - 


For 4 people


  • 4 wild sea bass fillets (with skin), about 180 g each
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges, to serve
  • 4 small garlic cloves, peeled and roughly sliced
  • 0.5 tsp good-quality sea salt
  • 0.5 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • bunch of marjoram or oregano, leaves only
  • 220 ml extra virgin olive oil (I use a light, fruity Sicilian oil)
  • 1/2 lemon

Wild Sea Bass with Salmoriglio Directions

  1. First make the salmoriglio. Pound the garlic using a pestle and mortar to a rough paste, then add the salt and continue to pound until smooth. Add the chilli and marjoram and pound lightly, then pour in the olive oil and stir to combine. If using straight away squeeze over the lemon juice, otherwise set aside, adding the lemon juice just before serving.

    To cook the fish, preheat the grill. On the skin side only, brush with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Lay the fish, flesh side down, on the grill rack and place under the heat. Cook the sea bass fillets without turning for 5-6 minutes or until the skin is blistered and deliciously crisp, and the flesh underneath is delicately translucent. Carefully transfer the fish fillets, skin side up, to warm plates and spoon over the salmoriglio. Serve at once, with lemon wedges, good bread or new potatoes and a salad.
  2. Salmoriglio is an excellent marinade for chicken or lamb, and is perfect for basting fish and red meat during cooking. Or you can simply spoon it over cooked fish (as here), meat or vegetables before serving. It is particularly good smeared over grilled aubergines or roasted squash, or drizzled over ripe tomatoes.