The holiday season is upon us and with that comes a lot of heavy party foods. Cooking lighter during the week to balance out the rich foods of the season is the perfect answer. Fish is a lighter healthier option, but sometimes challenging, especially in the winter months because of its availability.
Branzino is a convenient and flavorful fish from the Mediterranean that is usually available year round. Branzino, sometimes called Greek Sea Bass, is frozen whole and shipped to the United States and even the pickiest of fish eaters will enjoy this fish, due to its light flavor and texture.
In this recipe, I buy a whole Branzino and then split it in two by cutting the fillets away from the backbone. One Branzino usually serves two people for moderate to lighter appetites, but you can double or even triple the amount of fish in this recipe.
The Gremolata is an easy preparation of chopped Kalamata olives, capers, parsley, lemon zest and olive oil. Spoon the gremolata over the crispy fish and serve, it can’t get much easier than this.
1-2 whole Branzino, scaled and boned
2 tablespoon all purpose flour, rice flour can be substituted for a Gluten-Free option
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, rough chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained and minced
3 sprigs fresh parsley, rough chopped
zest of 1 lemon
toasted almonds, optional
1 tablespoon butter
1. Pat the Branzino dry and cut the fillets away from the backbone on each side. You can have your fish monger do this for you.
2. Sprinkle the fish with flour and a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. In a bowl, combine the olives, capers, parsley and lemon zest. Drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper, stir to combine.
4. In a saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the fish fillets flesh side down and saute for 2 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
5. Flip the fish over and continue to saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, just until the skin is crispy.
6. Remove the fish from the pan and place it on a plate with a spoonful or two of the gremolata and a sprinkling of toasted almonds. Serve with greens of your choice. Enjoy!