The other day the wife said to me, “Let’s have fish this week.” So when I saw this super fresh branzino at the market dinner became a done deal.
When I tell you it was good I ain’t lyin’. This is my favorite type of meal – easy to make, super fresh, delicious and comes to the table with the surprising elegance and sophistication you might expect from a fancy restaurant, but in reality is simple enough to make at home any old day of the week.
Branzino, also known as Mediterranean sea bass and loup de mer (wolf of the sea) is a firm, white, mildly flavored fish that is usually grilled or roasted, and served whole.
My fish guy is very accommodating so I chose to keep the fish whole, but have the head and tail removed. The last time I cooked a whole, head on fish my 6 year old went nuts.
Stuffed with a little lemon and a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme, then topped with a drizzle of olive oil before a short stint in a hot oven and dinner… Well, dinner was done.
Tender white and flaky with a hint of herbs and the clean citrusy tang of lemon. If I closed my eyes I could almost feel the Mediterranean breeze wash against my face – instead of the tail end of a Jersey winter.
Easy right? No need to shy away from cooking whole fish – even on a weeknight. So go on, take a quick trip to the Riviera. It’s as close as your kitchen and only a few dollars per pound.
Pan Roasted Branzino
- 2 whole branzino - cleaned and scaled
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 lemon slices
- couple sprigs each fresh rosemary and fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Rinse fish under cold running water and dry thoroughly. Season inside and out with salt & pepper then lay lemon slices and herbs in the cavity and tie with string.
- Heat the oil in a large oven proof skillet on medium high heat and cook fish on one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip fish and place in oven for an additional 10-12 minutes till skin is browned and crispy and flesh is just cooked through.
- Squeeze a little more lemon and a drizzle of olive oil on top and serve. Enjoy