Pan seared Branzino with a Burst baby tomato white wine sauce
This recipe is perfect for a summer light dinner for friends coming over last minute or just for yourself on a random week night because it only takes 15 minutes to make start to finish. It’s so flavorful and immediately transports you to Europe. But also a healthy option if you are looking to cut the carb intake and lead a Mediterranean diet.
I think Branzino might be my most favorite fish. When I moved to America from the UK 12 years ago, I was so confused because sea bass here when I would order it on a menu at a restaurant was very different. A fattier, thicker white fish I didn’t love. Turns out European sea bass is very different to the US one! So I’m so glad it’s on every menu here now so I can devour it.
Here is what you will need to make it:
This recipe feeds 2
2 fillets of wild caught branzino (European sea bass) (skin on, and deboned)
Big splash extra virgin olive oil
1 pint baby heirloom tomatoes
2 tsp capers
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 large glass white wine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Sprinkle of finely chopped Italian Parsley (or micro greens)
1 tbsp butter (optional)
Optional: Serve it over sautéed garlic spinach and roasted fingerling potatoes or cauliflower mash.
Start by prepping all your ingredients because this recipe moves fast.
Zest your lemon, crush your garlic, pour your glass of white wine, juice your lemons, wash your baby tomatoes and get your capers ready.
Now take your fillets out of the fridge. Pat them dry with paper towels. Very dry. It is important or they won’t brown.
Slice 3 slits across the skin, not all the way through, just a little to help the fish not curl up when it hits the heat of the pan.
Salt and pepper the fish on both sides. I like to use Maldon flakey sea salt because it is a milder flavor of salt.
Next it’s time to get your pan scorching hot so you can get a nice sear. Medium-high heat. Lots of olive oil in the bottom so the whole bottom of the pan is covered in olive oil. You can also add in 1 tbsp of butter here if you want because it will get a nice brown crust on the fish but I don’t eat dairy so tend to avoid that delicious step.
Once the pan is hot, add in your fish skin side down and press it down with a spatula for the first 5 seconds to make sure it doesn’t curl.
Cook for 3 minutes and then flip and cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
Now it’s time to add in your cherry tomatoes whole and salt/pepper. The pan should still be hot so the tomatoes blister. Toss them around in the pan until burst for 5 minutes and then add in your white wine. Let that cook for 2 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate and start to cook down and then add in your lemon juice, zest, garlic and capers and finish cooking for another 2 minutes in the pan.
Then it’s time to add the fish back in skin side facing up for 1 minute just to absorb some of the flavor.
Plate the fish over your favorite veggie or roasted potatoes and spoon over the tomatoes and sauce.
Sprinkle with a touch of finely diced fresh parsley or serve with micro greens on top and enjoy with a crisp glass of white wine.