Branzino, or European Sea Bass, is synonymous with Mediterranean cooking, with its mild, fresh flavour, and melt-in-your-mouth, white flesh. It’s an excellent choice for preparing whole, stuffed with herbs and balanced with the sweet-acid mix of cherry tomato and caper sauce.
Cherry Tomato – Caper Sauce
|2 tsp||Pusateri’s Delicato Extra Virgin Olive Oil|
|1 lg clove||garlic, minced|
|12||heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved|
|1 tbsp||capers, rinsed|
|6||oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved|
|2 whole||Branzino (approximately 1lb each), scaled and cleaned|
|To taste||salt and pepper|
|2||lemon, cut into 1/4” rounds (divided)|
|1 bunch||fresh tarragon (divided)|
|4||bay leaves (divided)|
|4 tsp||Pusateri’s Delicato Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)|
1. Preheat barbeque grill to high heat (500-550°).
2. Prepare the sauce. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add garlic, cherry tomatoes, capers, and olives. Sauté, stirring constantly for 3 minutes until garlic is softened and cherry tomatoes are just beginning to wrinkle.
3. Deglaze pan with wine and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
4. Remove pan from heat and stir in butter until fully incorporated. Set sauce aside until needed.
5. Prepare branzino. Season the cleaned fish with salt and pepper, inside and out.
6. Stuff the inside of each fish with one sliced lemon, 1/2 of the tarragon and two bay leaves. Tie each fish with three pieces of butcher’s twine to seal in the stuffing.
7. Rub the outside of each fish with 2 tsp olive oil and grill for approximately 7 minutes per side until cooked through.
8. Remove butcher’s twine, place grilled fish on a serving platter. Top with the reserved cherry tomato – caper sauce.
Thinly sliced fennel makes a wonderful addition to the stuffing. Remember to keep the fennel fronds to garnish the finished dish.