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Grilled sea bass served on a white platter with white beans and artichokes and grilled lemons.
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Grilled Sea Bass with Lemon White Beans and Artichokes

This recipe, adapted from The Rose Pistola Cookbook, was one of Phil and my favorite dishes from a restaurnat we adored in San Francisco. Thank you Rose for sharing your talent in the kitchen with us for so many years.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Grilled Sea Bass
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Debbie


For the Beans (If using canned beans, go straight to “For the Lemon, Beans and Artichoke”):

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, about 4″ long
  • 3 cups dried white beans
  • 4 cups Water

If using canned beans instead of dried beans:

  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, (only if you are not using the dried beans), drained and rinsed

Optional Bean ingredients:

  • parmesan and/or prosciutto rinds, See Gr8 tips below

For the Lemon, Beans and Artichokes:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bag frozen artichokes hearts, (or 2-14 ½ ounce cans of artichoke hearts, drained)
  • 2 cups cannellini Beans, cooked and drained (recipe above, or a 14 ½ oz. can, drained)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 sprigs marjoram, about a 5” long stem
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the Fish:

  • 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 6 inch sea bass fillets
  • 2 - 3 lemons, halved


For the Dried Beans:

  • Preheat oven to 275°F.
  • In a large ovenproof pot, heat the EVOO, garlic, and rosemary over medium high heat.
  • Sauté until the garlic begins to brown slightly. (I couldn't resist dipping a tiny piece of Parmesan into that EVOO garlicy rosemary pool of goodness!)
    Parmesan Cheese
  • Add the dried beans and water.
  • Once water begins to boil, immediately decrease the heat to simmer.
  • Cover and place in the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 2 hours until fork (or taste!) tender (may be less time, depending on freshness of dried beans**)
  • Check the water level from time to time. The beans need to be slightly covered with water.

For the Lemon, Beans and Artichokes:

  • In a small sauce pan, boil the lemons in water just to cover.
  • Reduce heat to a visible simmer, slightly covered until tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife, 12-15 minutes.
  • Drain liquid into a bowl, keeping the lemony water. (The boiled lemon can be made a day ahead, kept covered and refrigerated, and sliced the next day.)
  • Slice lemon crosswise, in about ⅛″ slices.
  • Let the artichokes (frozen or canned) sit in the bowl of lemony water.

While the fish cooks:

  • In a saucepan, warm the cooked beans (or canned beans) with the sliced lemon, garlic, marjoram and olive oil about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Keep warm while the fish is on the grill.

For the Fish:

  • Fire up the grill!
  • Using a mortar and a pestle, mini food mill, or processor, mash, blend or puree all of the ingredients except for the fish and halved lemons (oregano to black pepper).
  • With your hands or a rubber spatula (I’m guessing Rose used her hands!) rub the mixture evenly over the fish pieces.
  • Place the fish pieces and the lemon halves (cut side down) onto the grill directly on the grates.
  • Grill until the fish is slightly opaque (starting to turn white on the edges, about 3-4 minutes).
  • Turn the fish carefully. If It sticks to the grill, you’re turning too soon. Continue to cook longer until it no longer sticks.
  • Continue cooking until almost fully opaque in the center, about 5 minutes, more or less. Grill time varies depending on the thickness of your fillets and how hot your grill is.
  • Check the glossy caramelization of the lemon halves…tart but sweet. Be careful not to burn them.

To serve:

  • The last few minutes of grilling, place a platter away from the direct heat to warm. Arrange the warmed drained artichoke hearts on the warmed platter. Top evenly with the beans and arrange the fish over the beans.
  • Squeeze the caramelized grilled lemon halves over the dish before serving.
  • Make Rose proud and enjoy!


Gr8 Tip:
  • The bean recipe is amazingly delicious with the fish. But here’s an idea! If you’re serving them as a side dish alongside something other than fish, in Step 4 when cooking the beans, throw in a small piece (about 3″) of Parmesan rind and/or ask your butcher for a piece of the prociutto rind. Both add an amazing flavor. Discard before serving.
Gr8 Do Ahead Tip:
  • The beans can be prepared the day ahead and warmed the day of serving.
Tried this recipe?Mention @Great8Friends or tag #gr8food!