A 30-minute meal as breathtakingly beautiful as a Dutch still life.
Working with whole fish might seem complicated, but it really isn't. Branzino, or Mediterranean sea bass, does not need much to make it shine. A little salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and some fresh herbs will make this fish sing. And anyone who tastes it will be singing your praises! This is ultimate technique-not-torture ILOC dish. Seasonal, simple, sophisticated, and scrumptious!
Equipment: cutting board; chef's knife or fish knife; fish spatula
Ingredients: 1, whole branzino, cleaned (guts and scales removed)
6 black mission figs, halved
6 clusters muscat grapes 1 head baby cauliflower, broken into florets
fistful of fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Pat the fish dry inside and out and place diagonally on a rimmed sheet pan. Generously season on both sides of the flesh as well as the skin with salt and pepper. Drizzle the inside with olive oil, then add the herbs. Place the figs, grapes, and cauliflower florets around the fish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle everything lightly with olive oil.
“Have you ever roasted grapes before? They literally burst with flavor and color. I like to take a bunch or two of the red variety and squeeze them delicately over the plated dish . . . a magenta jus that flavors the fish subtlety but offers a visual punch. ”
2. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, until the fish is cooked though and the grapes have softened and release some juice.
3. Remove the herbs from the fish and discard. Then remove the center bone from the fish and discard. Carefully lift the fish filets from the skin using a fish spatula. Place on a plate garnished with the figs, some grape clusters, and the cauliflowers. Squeeze remaining grape clusters over the fish to release the juice, then season with additional salt and pepper. Serve immediately.