Running from the Law: Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables

Monday, November 21, 2016

Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables

Sponsored Post: The post is sponsored by Wente Vineyards but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
I know that with Thanksgiving coming up the only thing on people's minds right now is probably turkey, but I'm dying to share this AMAZING sea bass recipe with you. After gorging on all the carbs and piling on the gravy this week, you're probably going to want to lighten things up a bit and this recipe is perfect! It's light and healthy and absolutely divine! There are only a few ingredients (really good ones) and it's super easy to make, but it's guaranteed to impress. This is the meal that I make for company when I really want to show off. It's one of our favorite "special occasion" meals and I'll probably make it a few times over the next month as we entertain friends and family around the holidays. It's one of those dishes that feels like a big splurge, but is so simple (and healthy!) that you don't have to feel guilty about. It's unbelievably good and everyone that's had it has begged me for the recipe. I promise you will not be disappointed. 
Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
Super Simple Ingredients
This recipe so simple, but the flavors make it taste like you cooked all day. Each of the ingredients is prepped and then placed together in a foil packet to steam, where the flavors all come together to create one incredible meal. Other than the ingredients pictured here (sea bass, shiitake mushrooms, onion, broccolini, white wine), all you need is a little garlic, some kosher salt, pepper, olive oil and a pat of butter (all things I usually have on hand at home). 
Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
One Pan Prep-work
Preparation of the ingredients for this meal is also really simple. It's done in a few steps, but can all be done in 1 pan (less clean-up) and only takes a few minutes. I start with sauteeing the broccolini in a little bit of olive oil. I only cook them for a few minutes to get them slightly crispy and bright green. Then throw in a pinch of kosher salt and put them on your foil packet as the base of the recipe.

Next, caramelize the onions with some olive oil and garlic. I like to cook them on medium-high heat - enough for the onions to get soft and browned, but not burn the garlic. When the onions are ready, I add the mushrooms and salt and cook for another minute or two to fuse the flavors and get the mushrooms just barely soft. Put these in a bowl on the side. 
Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
Finally, season the sea bass with a heathy pinch of kosher salt and a sprinkling of black pepper and pan sear the top and bottom of the fish in the same pan, with a splash of olive oil (to keep the fish from sticking). This will give the fish a nice brown crispy top and bottom with extra flavor from the previous ingredients (the benefit of using the same pan). You don't need the cook the fish throughout, just enough to brown it and crisp up the edges. Remove from heat.
Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
Foil Packet Cooking
Remove the sea bass from the pan and place directly on the broccolini on the foil. Top the fish with the onion/mushroom mixture and add 1 pat of butter directly on top. Pour a few tablespoons of white wine. (I like using this chardonnay because it's light with a nice buttery flavor) into the packet and sprinkle the entire thing with another pinch of kosher salt. Seal the edges of the foil packet around the fish and pop in the oven to finish the cooking/steaming process. Cook for about 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees, just until the fish is cooked throughout and the broccolini is slightly soft. Cooking everything together in a foil packet really brings this dish home. The steam will cook the fish and the wine will permeate through all the food and give it an extra richness. 

If you're hosting a dinner party and want to serve this to a group, you can do all the prep-work ahead of time and get the foil packets ready for cooking. Store them in the refrigerator until you're ready  to throw them in the oven. You'll have an entire meal cooked in 20 minutes with little to no clean-up! 
Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
There will be a lot of steam escaping when you open the foil packet, so be careful! You could take everything out of the packet and plate (as shown below), but we usually put the foil packets on plates and eat directly out of them, so we don't lose any juices (and don't have to wash more dishes). Enjoy! 
Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
Ingredient Substitutions
This is a really simple recipe with only a few ingredients, but let's start with the main event...the fish. I know that sea bass can be a little bit of a splurge (price-wise), but a little goes a long way and it does not disappoint. Sea bass is a flaky white fish with a rich buttery taste. It's not overly fishy and practically melts in your mouth. However, if sea bass is not available or out of budget, feel free to substitute another white flaky fish of your choice in this recipe (cod, grouper, orange roughy, striped bass, tilapia). 
Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
Next ingredient...shiitake mushrooms. Again, this is a splurge item. Shiitakes can be found in most grocery stores or specialty markets. They have a rich woodsy smoked flavor that really complements the flavors in this dish. However, they're pricy. Feel free to substitute portobello mushrooms for the shiitakes (or use a combination of both) - you'll still get that hearty flavor, without the sticker shock. 
Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
Finally, let's talk about broccolini. If you've never had it, broccolini might surprise you. It feels a bit like a combination of broccoli and asparagus - it's got smaller florets than broccoli, with long thin stems like asparagus. But it has it's own distinct flavor. I like using it in this recipe because it's a bit hardier than regular broccoli that can get mushy while cooking, but more substantial than asparagus. However, either can be used in this recipe in exactly the same way, with just a minor variation in flavor. 
Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
Wente Vineyards Wines - Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
Wine Pairings
Since this is usually a special occasion dish for us, we go all out! I put together a little wine and cheese board for an appetizer, with jalapeno havarti, brie, smoked gouda and some really incredible spicy sausage. However, my favorite part is the wine! I'm a huge fan of the Wente Vineyards Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc. It's light and crisp and just a tiny bit fruity. I think it's a perfect complement to the rich cheese and the sea bass. Ryan's more of a red drinker (even with fish) and he prefers the Wente Vineyards Southern Hills Cabernet. And of course, we used the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay in the recipe, which would also make a great pairing if you wanted a rich, buttery wine. Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of these. And they make the perfect hostess gift! Pair with a block of cheese, a wine opener or some fancy jellies and you've got yourself a gift! 
Wente Vineyards Wines - Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
Wente Vineyards Wines - Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with VegetablesFoil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables
-  1/2 white onion
-  1 tablespoon minced garlic
-  extra virgin olive oil
-  2 pieces sea bass (about 6 oz each)
-  1 bundle broccolini
-  12-15 shiitake mushrooms, caps sliced, stems discarded
-  1/2 cup Wente Vineyards Morning Fog Chardonnay
-  kosher salt, to taste
-  black pepper, to taste
- 2 pats butter

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 2 large pieces of foil on separate plates. 
  2. Sautee broccolini in skillet with dash of olive oil until broccolini is bright green and florets start to get crisp. Remove from heat and split between foil pieces to create a bed for the fish.
  3. Sautee onions with garlic and olive oil over medium-high heat until onions carmelize and edges turn brown. Add a hefty pinch of kosher salt and sliced mushroom caps and cook for another 1-2 minutes until mushrooms slightly soften. Remove from pan. 
  4. Season sea bass with kosher salt and pepper. Sautee top and bottom in same pan over medium-high heat until edges turn brown and crispy. Remove from heat and place on top of broccolini on foil. 
  5. Top fish with onion/mushroom mixture. Add a few tablespoons of white wine to packet. Top fish with 1 pat of butter and sprinkle entire meal with pinch of kosher salt. 
  6. Fold foil over fish and crimp/fold edges to create a seal foil packet around fish and veggies. Place on cookie sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes until fish is cooked through. 
  7. Open packets (beware of escaping steam) and enjoy! 
Foil Packet Steamed Sea Bass with Vegetables

Anyone else a sea bass fan?

CLICK HERE to find a local store that carries Wente Vineyards wines or order online and have them delivered to your house (so you always have a bottle on hand).


  1. Kinsey and Brielana are fish-lovers which I find so funny (and maybe a bit odd lol) but Ive come to realize the smell and overly fishy taste has made me a very picky fish eater. Maybe this bass will win me over again?

  2. This look AMAZING! I love a good fish.

  3. Uh yum, looks pretty and delish!! I love cooking with wine (and drinking it, of course)!! ;)

  4. This recipe looks so good, I can't wait to try it.