I started this dish the other night, with a lot of expectation as I do most of my dishes and dinners for the most part (yes this is my dinner). It was well after 1 AM, and I was pretty exhausted by then, but the urge to cook something up for my self was too intense and so well, I got to cooking, or roasting and boiling some red bliss. The branzino for all intents and purposes was absolutely brilliant. Not because I had really a whole lot to do with it, but because it is just such an easy fish to roast and well, if you do it right and follow some simple tips, you just can’t mess it up. The potatoes are also an easy way to add a side to an already delicious meal be it by it self. They’re boiled till tender and cooked through but not overly cooked. Tossed in some Greek olive oil and finished with lots of freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt and Moldan’s sea salt for some added crunch.
1 whole branzino
6-8 sprigs fresh parsley (fresh cilantro alternative)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4-6 lemon slices
fresh cracked pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Be sure that your fish is clean and tempered at room temperature before cooking. Also, be sure to pat the fish dry with plenty of clean paper towel before seasoning. At this point in the recipe, I also hope that you or your fish monger has cleaned and scaled your fish (for you!). In a 13 x 9 inch sheet tray, spray with cooking spray, or coat by brushing with olive oil, with a pastry brush. You can also use a aluminum foil to cover the tray and make cleaning easier. Remember to spray or brush with oil too. Make 4 or 5, 2 inch slits using a chef knife or boning knife, 2 inches apart, on both sides of the fish. Place some Moldan (sea salt) or kosher salt into each slit. Into the cavity of the fish (belly), which should be cleaned and rinsed by your fish monger, season with salt and pepper and place the lemon and fresh herbs. To the outside of the fish, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and drizzle with plenty of olive oil to coat. Place your fish into your preheated oven to roast for 6 minutes. Do not turn or play with the fish during this time or you will tear the skin. It’s important to be careful while turning the fish with a fish spatula (fish slice), during this point. Once flipped cook for an additional 5-6 minutes. Once cooked, place the fish into the broiler to blister the skin and caramelize the outside. You can blister both sides as I prefer to do, but it can be tricky turning the fish. With much patience and practice you will get the hang of it. Enjoy!