Whenever I see Branzino on a restaurant menu, I almost always shun other entrees and order it. Also known as European seabass, and sometimes "spigola" in Italy, it's one of my favorite fishes. Its white flesh is mild and buttery and is becoming increasingly available in supermarkets too. Don't be dissuaded if you've never prepared a whole fish. It's easy to cook and debone.
Stuff the inside with a few lemon slices, some parsley, salt and pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast it in the oven at a high heat.
Fillet the fish by inserting a knife along the side.
Place the knife into the fish just below the head, then run the knife along the bone and remove the flesh.
You can easily pull the main bone away from the fish and scoop out the bottom fillet. Be careful though, because there may be a few stray bones along the side. There's still a lot of succulent meat around the head and main bone, and if you're like me, you won't let that go to waste.
I couldn't resist.
printable recipe here
1 whole branzino - about 1 - 1 1/2 pounds
(or kosher salt mixed with minced herbs like rosemary and thyme)
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for drizzling on top
2 T. butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 T. capers
juice from 1/2 large lemon
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Put the branzino on a baking dish and season it liberally inside and out with the seasoned salt and black pepper. Place lemon slices inside the cavity. Drizzle olive oil on top.
Bake it for 15 minutes. While it's baking, make the sauce by melted the butter and adding the minced garlic cloves, allowing them to cook at low heat for a couple of minutes. Crank up the heat a bit and add the white wine. Cook for another couple of minutes, then just before serving add the capers, lemon juice and minced parsley.
Fillet the fish from the bone, being careful to remove the small bones along the side. Pour the sauce over the top of the fish and serve.