Agh, I’m one of those bloggers who has been neglecting her writing duties. I always wondered who those people were and now I’m one. Dang it! Good thing Pure Food Fish continues to ask me to do recipes for their site as it prompts me to write about it on mine.
PFF wanted me to do something creative with Branzino, a fish that I became very familiar with last year when we spent the majority of the year near on the Mediterranean coast. In Croatia and Montenegro this was the go-to fish on every menu. Branzino is technically the Northern Italian (Branzini is just the plural) name given to this mild tasting white fish. Other names that might be familiar to you are European or Mediterranean seabass.
In my recipe invention phase I focused on what is especially delicious right now in Seattle produce-wise. Summer in Seattle is a magnificent time for sweet berries, cherries and peaches. This past weekend I walked by one of the produce stands in the Pike Place Market where the fruit monger (not sure if that’s a thing) insisted I try a slice of his peach. I cautiously looked around to make sure none of my Frank’s Quality Produce guys were in the vicinity then accepted the free taste. It was sweet, juicy and full of peach goodness. The very reason why Eat Seattle embodies seasonal eating.
The peach relish complimented the Branzino nicely. I also lean towards this fish as it is a good sustainable option. It’s important to note that the majority of Branzino is farmed. In fact, it is the second most farmed fish after salmon. Fish farming has its own set of problems but I know Pure Food Fish Market regulates its suppliers and their practices closely.
I tried this recipe with gooseberries and Washington white peaches. They both worked but I ended up choosing the peaches for PFF. I managed to secure a jar of preserved lemons from Britt’s Pickles which enhanced the citrus flavor in the sauce. For those of you not aware of Britt’s Pickles, they are a fantastic local pickling company dedicated to lacto-fermention which keeps the nutrients of the vegetables in tact. Using vinegar and high heat kills about 90% of the vitamins and nutrients. Have you ever wondered why a jar of pickled carrots has only 5% Vitamin A when a raw medium carrot contains at least 200% of your daily dose?
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 Whole Branzino (Mediterranean Seabass)- gutted and scaled
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 lemon
- red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup olive oil
White Peach Sauce
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp shallot
- 2 white peaches diced
- 1 Tbsp preserved Lemon (or, 1 tsp lemon zest)
- ½ tsp ginger (minced)
- ½ tsp white wine vinegar
- Melt 2 Tbsp butter in saucepan over medium low heat. Once fully melted, add shallot to cook for 5 minutes (if shallot starts to brown reduce heat). Add peaches, preserved lemon, ginger and vinegar. Cook for 15 minutes then set aside to prepare fish.
*Note, Britt’s Pickles sells delicious preserved lemon. Great pantry item!
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat adding sliced garlic and red pepper flakes. Turn off stove and let the oil infuse with the garlic and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes. Once ready to cook the fish remove the sliced garlic from the oil.
- Make sure the whole Branzino is gutted and scaled and washed thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towel.
- Place Branzino in oven-proof pan with non-stick coating (like Le Creuset). Massage the infused oil all over the inside and outside of the fish. Salt & pepper the inside cavity and add lemon wedges inside as well.
- Place seasoned Branzino in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, gently flip fish on other side and cook for 4 more minutes on other side. Turn the broiler on to brown the fish for 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve whole with a scoop of peach relish and garnishes.
Garnish with basil leaves and fried shallots
- *fried shallots: slice shallots finely, heat ¼ C vegetable oil in non-stick pan to medium high. Fry shallots until fully brown. Remove and place on paper towel.