Branzino – also known as sea bass – is a flaky, white Mediterranean fish that pairs beautifully with flatbread, rice or a simple salad. I’m currently obsessed with this dish because it’s hearty yet light – perfect for any summertime meal. I first fell in love with this particular preparation in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens where it’s a staple of Greek restaurants, and although branzino is not always readily available in the Midwest, I have found that Fulton Fish Market (fultonfishmarket.com) is a reliable source for fish and seafood, which you can order online for overnight delivery. It’s also easy to swap out the branzino for trout, red snapper or another similar whole fish in this recipe.
Whole Branzino with Charred Onions
Serves | 2 to 4 |
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 bunches scallions, whites trimmed off
- ¾ tsp salt, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 5 cloves garlic, grated
- ¼ tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 whole branzino (approximately 1 lb each)
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
| Preparation – Charred Onions | Set a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and scallions; season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Char scallions on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a small bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Once scallions have cooled, roughly chop them and add to bowl; toss to combine. Reserve as topping for fish.
| Preparation – Whole Branzino | Heat oil in a cast-iron pan over medium high heat. In a small bowl, mix garlic, salt and lemon zest together until a paste forms. Rub the inside cavity of the fish with paste; season outside with salt and pepper to taste. Add fish to pan; sear each side, 8 to 10 minutes, or until fish is cooked through (165°F). Remove fish from pan and plate. Dress with charred onions and serve immediately.