Thursday, March 7, 2024

Weekly Cooking Report March 7: Greek Branzino

 You may ask yourself "why does Brian do so much chicken cooking" and the answer is "because it's easy" but the other answer is "my beloved wife is a monster who doesn't like fish". This means the fish recipes only get trotted out for special occasions, which is a shame because they are easy and tasty. Like this one! 

The recipe for this one comes from here and here, but I do want to break it down for you. 

You're going to need one or two whole fish at about the 1 lb. level, but have the fishmonger clean and scale it for you. These things might look intimidating if you haven't done this before but you'll be fine. Trust me. The recipe called for branzino but you can substitute striped bass, black sea bass, flounder, or red snapper. Lots of options. 

I want to focus on the cooking the fish part. Set the oven 20 400F, with a rack in the center and another closer to the top. Pat down the fish, cut slits on both sides. Rub the surface of the fish, and the cavity with salt and pepper, getting the seasoning into the slits you just cut. Fill the interior with sliced lemon and onion (1/2 of each for each fish) and place on cookie sheet to roast. Roast for 5 minutes. Then flip them with a spatula and roast for another 5-7 minutes. Move the cookie sheet to the top rack and broil until skin starts to char, 3-4 minutes. 

THAT'S IT. Flipping the fsh can be intimidating but take two spatulas and get it done. It doesn't have to look perfect and just like that, the fish is ready to eat. Everything else is gravy. 

OK, not gravy, but you get the idea. 

Now, for this recipe you then drizzle some Greek lemon/olive oil dressing over it, add some halved tomatoes that have a pinch of salt on them and some dill. I included a link to the ladolemono dressing recipe but you know what else works? This bad boy right here. The dressing is simple to make, I recommend doing it, but you don't need to. 

That being said, you don't need to use that dressing - pretty much any oil and herb based dressing will work, especially if you skip the dill (which has a distinctive taste... works well with fish, not for everyone). Or you can stick half the dill into the fish before it roasts. Or add the tomatoes to the sheet pan when you broil it to change their flavor. 

The trick is to a) not be afraid of the whole fish and b) serve to a grateful family. 

Oh, you know what goes really well with Greek fish? Couscous. You know what to do. 

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