Fish and Seafood, Gluten-free, Special Diets

Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf ‘n Surf

Loreto August 8, 2017

Jump To Recipe

Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf ‘n Surf, succulent, robust seafood flavors, spiked with the use of beet leaf pesto, utilizing the grill to bring out the natural sugars and beautiful colors. This dish is summer on a plate!

Song of the day:  “Quant’ave” by  Orchestra Popolare La Notte della Taranta.

Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf 'n Surf

Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf ‘n Surf is a dish full of plentiful flavors. The sea bass, plump and rich, the shrimp sweet with a nice charred backdrop, and to elevate things, a home made beet leaf pesto that marries so well with all the tastes and textures of this dish, making it one of our favorite summertime recipes!



Sea bass is a wonderful fish, commonly found in the Northern parts of the world. This fish is a great dietary source of vitamin A, D, calcium, and potassium. It also contains a large amount of protein. Calorie for calorie, sea bass packs a more than substantial amount of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients, making it a healthy and delicious choice. What I like about this fish is its meatiness and flakiness. If cooked right it can be one of the most tender and moist pieces of fish you have ever tasted. The one thing I have to say is that it is very filling. A nice 4-6 ounce piece would suffice a good meal portion, depending also on the individual person and appetite. Fortunately for us and our City Market 104 and more so Ocean Odyssey Inland Fish Market, we can enjoy some varieties of sustainable fresh seafood including sea bass.

Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf 'n Surf

Mentally preparing this dish in my mind, had me thinking surf and turf, but I wanted to rock the boat a bit creatively. I wanted something that would bring some color to the plate and also compliment the bass flavor. Shrimp came to the forefront right away. That sweetness you get from grilling this wonderful sea dweller. I like to keep the shell on whenever possible as it adds so much flavor. I know it can be a messy affair, but no more that chomping on saucy bbq side ribs or corn on the cob. After thinking about it, the name was evident: Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf ‘n Surf. To keep things on the simple side a nice side of sauteed organic spinach, which is always a great side for any dish. Nicoletta was working on a new pesto as we were developing this recipe. We had bought some beet leaves at the market and Nicoletta had the idea to use it in a pesto. I thought “wow!” That is such a great idea and it would be a wonderful flavor spike on this surf ‘n surf. So there you have it, the birth of another recipe in the kitchen of SugarLoveSpices!

This recipe is pretty simple. The fish and shrimp don’t need too much as we also have the pesto. So a light seasoning of sea salt and pepper, some e.v.o. oil of course and a nice drizzle of fresh lemon juice will suffice. I did the fish in a cast iron grilling pan and the shrimp on the BBQ. One thing about sea bass depending on the thickness is it will cook quite quickly especially as cast iron holds heat very well. Another thing I always follow is that the pan needs to be really hot and always start with skin side down. Make sure to oil the pan well or use a nonstick! Shrimp also require very little time. The problem with shrimp is that if over cooked they become rubbery and dry. You don’t want to lose that succulent juiciness of the shrimp and the flavor that comes with it. I usually watch for that crimson orange color to appear, and once the whole shrimp turns that beautiful color I know that they are done.

The side dish is also simple and easy. Some people blanch the spinach before sauteeing it, but I like to just saute it in a large nonstick pan and let all those natural flavors mingle with some good e.v.o. oil, garlic, sea salt and pepper, and for just a hint of spice, peperoncino. In just a short while taking the cover on and off and stirring frequently to ensure all those leaves are wilting equally, you will have a delicious silky juicy side that will compliment the sea food quite well.

Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf 'n Surf

I love the texture with this sea bass. You can see the flakiness and meatiness right away. The wonderful color of the grill marks tantalizing us visually and tastefully. The shrimp provides that spike of color to awaken the senses and bring us back down to earth. The spinach reminds us of our plentiful earthy ground and the gratitude that both Nicoletta and I have for the producers that are respecting it in a most passionate way giving us the best of the best in natural food.

Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf 'n Surf

My first bite gives way to the moist and tenderness of the sea bass, so flaky and just melting in my mouth. The sea salt spiking the flavor of the sea and that pepper adding a bit of punch to keep us entertained. I have to say I love the way Italian finish dishes. That drizzle of cold pressed olive oil, golden and earthy, letting us know that the flavor of the fish is preserved in a balanced marriage of flavors. The pesto giving way to a rich deep mysterious color and also capturing our tastebuds curiosity. The rich deep flavor of the beet leaves and combinations of ingredients in the pesto make for a great topper to the fish and shrimp. The shrimp are so juicy, pulling the shell from the meat of this crustacean reveals its juiciness as it runs onto my fingers, and as I am not one to waste, finger licking is a must. The sweetness and saltiness balance well in the plump and tenderness of the shrimp. The spinach is like a velvet glove. So silky, juicy and tender. Its earthiness and the deep flavor is a great support to highlight the main star of this plate, the sea bass. I love all the flavors, bite after bite, combinations of spinach and sea bass, shrimp, and nice squeezes of fresh Meyer lemon, which I have to say have such a nice subtle acidity allowing those natural sugars of the proteins to shine.

It’s summer and our beautiful Earth provides us with so much on land or sea, organically and naturally. Let’s celebrate with this Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf’ ‘n Surf.


Song of the day:  “Quant’ave” by  Orchestra Popolare La Notte della Taranta.

Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf 'n Surf

Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf ‘n Surf

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes



  • 1 kg fresh Sea Bass fillet skin on
  • 2 Tbsp evo olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Splash fresh lemon juice


  • 15 medium sized shrimp
  • 2 Tbsp evo olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • Splash fresh lemon juice


  • 6 cups organic fresh spinach washed and spun
  • 2 Tbsp evo olive oil
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of dried chili peppers


  • No Garlic Beet leaf pesto (recipe to come on our blog)
  • You can use any pesto available to you



  1. In a large saute pan drizzle in olive oil.
  2. Toss in garlic, chili pepper and heat to a medium to high heat.
  3. Place in spinach a little at a time stirring to make sure spinach is wilting evenly.
  4. When all the spinach is in, cover and saute for about 10 minutes, uncovering constantly to make sure spinach is cooking evenly.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and stir for about another 2 minnutes.
  6. Take off heat, set aside.


  1. Soak 3 bamboo skewers in warm water.
  2. Wash shrimp and place in colander to drain. Leave shells on.
  3. Place shrimp in a bowl and pour in olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  4. Toss well to ensure seasoning is well distributed.
  5. Take skewers and place 5 shrimp firmly on each skewer.


  1. Place fish in a dish.
  2. Drizzle oil on both sides of fish and massage in.
  3. Season both sides with salt , pepper, and lemon juice.
  4. Heat BBQ up and place well oiled grilling pan on grill.
  5. Heat up grill till it is nice and hot around 400 degrees F.
  6. Place fish in grilling pan skin side down and cook for 8 minutes.
  7. Turn over and cook for another 8 minutes.
  8. Cook times may vary depending on how hot the grilling pan is and temperature of the BBQ.
  9. Take off heat and let rest 1 minute.


  1. While fish is cooking, heat up BBQ to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil grill with some olive oil.
  3. Place skewers on grill and cook for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turn that rich orange color.
  4. Turn skewers over and repeat cooking time.
  5. Take off BBQ.


  1. Divide fish into three equal portions.
  2. Place shrimp skewer beside fish.
  3. Place a spoonful of sauteed spinach.
  4. Drizzle fish and shrimp with pesto.
  5. Serve with lemon slices.
  6. Enjoy.


  • Serving Size: 3 servings
Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Sea Bass and Shrimp Surf 'n Surf

Looking for another great grilled fish recipe? Try our:

Grilled Branzino stuffed with lemon and herbs

Grilled Branzino stuffed with lemon and herbs

Making our recipes? Take a pic and tag us on Instagram: @sugarlovespices/#sugarlovespices. You’re going to be in our gallery!

Disclosure: All links in our post are NOT affiliate links. They are only about products or places we normally purchase and like.

You Might Also Like


  • Avatar
    Reply Amanda Orlando August 9, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I’m a seafood fanatic and I love cooking a whole fish. This is a great recipe for summer, and I like that there are beetroots in the pesto. It’s a fantastic, creative idea!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto August 10, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Thank you Amanda, creativity is a beautiful, wonderful and delicious tool. Nicoletta and I enjoy using it so much. You are so right in saying this is a summer recipe. I love seafood dishes as they are easy on the digestive system and also so flavorful and fun to eat.
      Thanks for commenting, and have a wonderful day!

  • Avatar
    Reply kitchenfrau August 9, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Love your clever name for the dish 🙂 and love the combination of the two seafoods. Shrimp is one of my favourites. Reading your post made me want to sit and eat this at a seaside restaurant with the ocean winds blowing, but I guess I’ll have to do the next best thing and make it here at home on a hot sunny day. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto August 10, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Margaret
      I am so glad you liked this one. The idea of sitting on a beach enjoying this plate is a great idea, but also a beautiful sunny day and an imagination would suffice too. Thanks for your always beautiful comments, and you are so welcome too.
      Have a great rest of the week!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.