Sunday, January 5, 2014

Whole Roasted Branzino + The Fixins'

Food memories can be some of the sweetest to recall, transporting you back to times, places, scenes--and tastes--that make life special for all the right reasons.   One such memory recently came to mind, as I recalled a scrumptious Whole Roasted Branzino that I had enjoyed at the Italian food emporium, Eataly, during one of my jaunts to NYC.

A simple, yet elegant, preparation served up amazingly moist and succulent fish, with a crispy skin to match, for one of the best seafood bites I had enjoyed to date.  And with that delicious memory now back in view, I set out to bring the same delectable bite to my kitchen. 

My first time preparing a whole fish, rather than fillets, I was excited as much by the presentation of the dish, as I was the preparation.  I decided to stuff the fish with the wonderful flavors of citrus, onion and herbs, with an outcome that was as delicious as what I recalled at the restaurant.  I added to the decadence with a creamy parsnip puree and crispy, roasted kale to round out one amazing meal—and another delectable memory.

Happy Eating!

Whole Roasted Branzino
2 Whole Branzino, cleaned, with head and tail intact (tip: get your fishmonger to do this)
Fresh thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and lemon slices for stuffing
Onion slices
Kosher Salt
Flaked Sea Salt, optional
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine 
1/4 cup water 

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Sprinkle fish inside and out with kosher salt and pepper. Stuff each with thyme sprigs, onion and lemon slices. Arrange fish in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour in wine, 1/4 cup water, and lemon juice. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil.

Roast fish 35 minutes. Remove from oven and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt, if using.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Roasted Kale   
Kale, chopped or torn into leaves
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Arrange kale on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine and place in preheated 350 F oven.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until preferred crispness. 

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