Do you walk by the Seafood section of your grocery store with only a glance at the whole fish on display? Is it because you're not sure what to do with a fish that feels like it's looking back at you?
Are you just a little bit intimidated by the idea of cooking it, or even what to ask for when it comes to fresh fish? If so, this is a great beginner's recipe. I'll tell you what to say, and then within a few simple steps you'll be serving WOW on a plate to your friends and family.
If you have hooked, scaled and smoked your own catch - you may still enjoy a reminder of how "simple" can mean delicious.
Branzino - pronounced "Brahn-zee-no" is a seabass frequently caught along northern Italian shores in warmer weather. When caught or farmed in other areas, it's called European bass. In Spain, it's called Lupina.
It's Mediterranean and when cooked in that style with additions like capers, lemons, tomatoes and olives the flavors turn the simple into the exotic.
A whole roasting pan lined up with Branzini (plural in Italian for Branzino) can be very impressive, but it also makes a nice quiet dinner for two when you roast just one.
Recipe: Simple Whole Roasted Branzino
1 Whole Branzino (or Trout or Sea Bass)
Riesling white wine - Wente makes a crisp, excellent Riesling.
1) Ask for Whole Branzino (or Trout or Sea Bass), then ask them to "Scale and Gut it."
2) Unwrap it at home, rinse the fish and dry well.
3) Season inside/outside with Salt, Pepper and Paprika. Add a few slices of lemon to the inside of the fish.
4) Drizzle oil and add a few slices of citrus (lemons and limes, etc) onto a foil lined baking pan (use parchment if you’re adding tomatoes.)
5) Put the pan into the oven, and THEN preheat to 450F. When the oven is preheated, the citrus is roasted and the oil is hot, carefully place the fish on top of the citrus.
6) Continue Roasting for about 15 minutes (less if the fish is small.) Drizzle White Wine over the fish; continue roasting for 8-10 more minutes.
7) Remove the fish, place on a serving platter and garnish with the roasted citrus and any other Mediterranean goodies to nibble (ie, small tomatoes, olive, capers, basil leaves.)
8) When serving, remove the skin and gently scrape the moist white fish fillet onto a plate. Remove the main bone frame from the middle, then add the bottom fillet to another plate.