Baked branzino is an incredibly flavorful and highly versatile Italian fish dish that will certainly make your dinner party an unforgettable one! Branzino is a type of Mediterranean saltwater fish that has a delicate, sweet and succulent texture that can be cooked a variety of ways, from steaming and poaching to baking and grilling. The fish itself is often served whole, which makes it a great centerpiece for a special occasion.
What is Branzino?
Branzino, also known as European sea bass, is a popular Mediterranean fish species found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. It is easily recognizable due to its elongated and slim body, small mouth and eyes, and silvery scales. Branzinos vary in size, with the average size being around 4-7 pounds in weight.
Branzino is becoming increasingly popular in restaurants and homes around the world due to its mild and sweet flavor, delicate texture, and ability to take on a variety of flavors and seasonings. It is also a healthy and nutritious option, as it is high in omega-3 fatty acids and selenium.
Why We Love Baked Branzino
Baking branzino is a great option for preparing this versatile fish. Baking allows you to easily control the fish’s doneness and avoid overcooking it, while still ensuring it is cooked through. Baking also gives the fish a crispy exterior while keeping the interior moist and succulent. Finally, baking allows you take advantage of ingredient synergy, as you can add various flavorful ingredients such as herbs, vegetables, and spices to the fish to create an even more flavorful dish.
Preparation and Key Ingredients
Before you start baking your branzino, you’ll need the right ingredients. The most important part of making this delicious dish is selecting a fresh and high-quality branzino. The fresher the fish, the better the flavor. You will need 1 – 2 whole branzino per person, depending on size.
Next, you will need a few simple ingredients for seasoning. You will need olive oil, garlic, lemon slices, parsley, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs and spices.
How to Bake the Branzino
Once you have the fish and the ingredients, the next step is to prepare the fish for baking. First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, rinse the branzino under cold water and pat it dry. Place the fish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and rub it into the flesh of the fish. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and any herbs and spices you’re using. Place 4 slices of lemon and 4 cloves of garlic on top of the fish. If desired, add in any additional vegetables or herbs you’d like.
Bake the branzino uncovered for 25-30 minutes until it is cooked through. Once done, turn the oven off and let the fish rest. Once rested, plate the fish on a serving dish surrounded by the roasted vegetables and herbs.
Baked branzino is incredibly versatile and can be served with a variety of different sides dishes. It pairs wonderfully with roasted vegetables, a simple salad, or a selection of grilled or steamed vegetables and grains.
No matter how you serve it, make sure to drizzle the top of the fish with some freshly squeezed lemon juice for the perfect finishing touch.
Helpful Tips for Cooking The Perfect Branzino
To ensure the perfect dish of baked branzino every time, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:
– Make sure to select a high-quality fish that is fresh and smells mild.
– Begin by preheating the oven and adding a generous amount of oil and seasonings to the fish. This will help it maintain maximum moisture and flavor.
– Be sure to bake the fish for the correct amount of time so that it is cooked through.
– Allow the fish to rest after baking and before serving.
– When serving, make sure to add a generous amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice to top off the dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know if my branzino is fresh?
A: The best way to tell if your branzino is fresh is to smell it. Fresh branzino should have a mild odor, not an overpowering fishy smell. You can also look for bright eyes, red gills, and thick, shiny scales.
Q: How long should I bake the branzino for?
A: The baking time will depend on the size of your branzino. Generally, you should bake it for 25–30 minutes at 425°F.
Q: Can I add vegetables to my branzino when baking?
A: Yes, you can add a variety of vegetables to the baking sheet around the branzino. This is a great way to add flavor to the dish and make it a complete meal.
Q: How do I store leftover branzino?
A: Any leftover cooked branzino should be placed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
2 (1-lb) whole branzino, scaled and gutted
1 lemon, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Rinse the branzino fillets under cold water and pat dry.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the lemon slices in a single layer. Place the branzino fillets on top of the lemon slices.
Brush each fillet with melted butter and sprinkle with the fresh thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
Fold the aluminum foil over the fish to cover. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
You can also use other types of fish such as sea bass, salmon, or trout.
Other fresh herbs you can use include oregano, chives, or parsley.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- Diet: Halal
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 300 kcal
- Sugar: 0g
- Sodium: 600mg
- Fat: 20g
- Saturated Fat: 7g
- Unsaturated Fat: 11g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 1g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 30g
- Cholesterol: 90mg
Keywords: Baked Branzino,Mediterranean Cuisine,Lemon Herb,,,,