Also called black sea bass and blackfish, the sea bass is a stout-bodied bottom feeder with grayish-black coloring and a white belly. The flesh is white and somewhat firm with tight, small flakes and a delicate flavor. They are usually sold as 1 1/2- to 2-pound whole fish, and sometimes sold alive at Asian markets. Look for fish with a deep color, bright eyes, and pink (not brown) gills.
Whole sea bass is good steamed or roasted (Try it with Asian seasonings). Fillets can be sautéed or broiled, and they are often baked in parchment paper or foil packets. Both whole fish and fillets are good fried.