Branzino is more widely known as Mediterranean or European Sea Bass. It is an iconic European fish. In this recipe, we are going to prepare a whole roasted branzino.
It’s surprising how very different our expectations and reality can be sometimes. I have a cold, so to make myself be at peace, I thought it would be a good time to regroup, get some rest, and write a couple of articles. Instead, I felt so weak the past few days, I couldn’t even watch my current favorite show. Well today, I feel much better — not good enough to go back into the world, but strong enough to work on the post and write some emails that have been waiting for its turn.
First of all, I want to say how much I missed posting new recipes to the blog. It’s been awhile. Lots of work, traveling, family stuff and so on. Secondly, this recipe was done during my travels to Boynton Beach, Florida. I came to visit my dear friends, who always make sure my stay is comfortable and joyful. In return, I wanted to thank them, which I can’t do enough, and make a special dinner. I found a local fish market, a beautiful, small family store. They sell a variety of fresh underwater goods and sell perfect little accompaniments that go well with seafood, sauces, spices, citrus fruits etc. I chose beautiful sea bass, aka branzino, a few other ingredients and was ready to do the magic.
I remember a time when I was scared to cook fillet, let alone a whole fish. It always seemed so complicated and I thought I would ruin it no matter what. It turned out to be the opposite. It takes just a little time to cook and it always turns out delicious as long as you don’t overcook it. Branzino has a mild flavor, a little bit sweet. It is flaky and tender.
I ran into this beautiful bunch of small asparagus with gorgeous little green stems, that were incredibly tender. This Whole Roasted Branzino with Coconut Sweet Potato Purée recipe looks festive, tastes delicious and will make everybody happy.
- 1 or 2 whole branzino (Mediterranean sea bass)
- 2-3 sprigs fresh dill
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 lemons
- 1 leek
- 2-3 large sweet potatoes
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 can whole coconut milk or cream
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 small bunch asparagus
- 2 tablespoons butter, optional
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel sweet potatoes and roughly dice into smaller pieces. Put potatoes in a small saucepan and top with vegetable broth. Cook until fork tender. Drain potatoes and mash them. Add coconut milk until it becomes creamy to your desired consistency. Salt to taste.
- To blanch asparagus, start with boiling water in a pot with a generous amount of salt. When water comes to a boil, add asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath using a medium mixing bowl filled with ice and water. Using tongs carefully transfer asparagus into the icy cold water. It will "shock" it to prevent from overcooking and preserve its bright green color. When asparagus is cold, drain the water. Pat them dry. Gently toss with olive oil and black pepper. Add salt, if needed.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Wash the fish and pat dry with a paper towel. Score few cuts on a top side of the skin. Stuff fish with fresh dill and thyme, lemon slices, and garlic cloves. Rub fish with coconut or olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper. You can place a piece of cold butter on top before putting in the oven. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. Switch to broiler and cook 1-3 minutes, to get a perfect golden brown color.
- Preheat a skillet with olive oil. Cut leaks on a bias and cook the rings on both sides, carefully flipping with a small spatula or fork until golden brown. Try to keep the layers from separating.
- In a sauté pan, preheat olive oil. Add capers and cook for a minute or two or until they pop. Let them cool off and drain on a paper towel.
- To plate spread coconut sweet potato purée onto a plate. Remove one side of the fish off the bone and place on top of the purée. Carefully place leek rings, asparagus and capers on the plate.
- Pull the fin to check the doneness. If it comes out easily, it's ready!