branzino

Papillote Branzino

Papillote Branzino

Branzino is the Mediterranean sea bass. I grew up eating lots of charcoal-grilled Branzino in Lebanon, but now that I live in Brooklyn without a grill, I found a way to cook this salty fish. 

When I was in college, I learned this "papillote" method, cooking in parchment envelops. It's an easy way to cook fish without drying it out. Keeping the moisture within the papillote locks in all the Mediterranean flavors of Branzino. You can cook any fish using this foolproof method.

Make this impressive dish with minimal effort for your next dinner party!

Photos by Lauren Zaser

Serves: 4 - 6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 fennel head

  • 6 fillets branzino

  • 3 tbsp capers

  • 1/4 cup olives, sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 lemon, sliced

  • 1/4 cup white wine

  • salt & pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.

  2. Slice fennel on a mandoline. If you don't have a mandoline, thinly slice the fennel.

  3. Cut out a parchment paper that is 6 inches larger than your sheet tray.

  4. Line the sheet tray with the parchment, and drizzle with olive oil.

  5. Scatter sliced fennel and salt.

  6. Place the filleted branzino on top of the fennel and season it with salt and pepper, followed by capers, olives, garlic, and thyme leaves.

  7. Season the fish with salt and pepper.

  8. Layer the lemon across the fish.

  9. Pour the white wine around the fish.

  10. Cover the fish with a parchment paper, and fold the ends of parchment papers tightly to make an envelope.

  11. Place the sheet tray in the preheated oven, and cook it for 14 - 16 minutes.

  12. Remove the sheet tray from the oven, and let it sit for 1 minute before removing the top parchment paper.

  13. ENJOYY!!

Branzino Alla Puttanesca

Branzino Alla Puttanesca

There are too many variations on the origin stories of pasta puttanesca. But, my favorite story is that a puttanesca sauce is invented and made by prostitutes to lure customers with its powerful aroma. I applied the same flavors and ideas of pasta alla puttanesca on my favorite fish, branzino!

Branzino, known for its delicate flavors, is cooked in a "papillote" method. It's a cooking method using parchment envelopes. It's an easy way to cook fish without drying it out, keeping the moisture within the papillote while locking in all the flavors.

I used tomatoes from my garden, which became a light, flavorful sauce in a pouch. Flavors of salty capers, olives with those saucy tomatoes, work incredibly well with the fish. This easy branzino alla puttanesca is a perfect date night food. Similar to the origin story of the puttanesca sauce, this dish is full of love. Except you will lure your loved ones, not customers.

Serves: 4 - 6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 fennel head

  • 6 fillets branzino

  • 3 tbsp capers

  • 1/4 cup olives, sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 lemon, sliced

  • 1/4 cup white wine

  • salt & pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.

  2. Slice fennel on a mandoline. If you don't have a mandoline, thinly slice the fennel.

  3. Cut out a parchment paper that is 6 inches larger than your sheet tray.

  4. Line the sheet tray with the parchment, and drizzle with olive oil.

  5. Scatter sliced fennel and salt.

  6. Place the filleted branzino on top of the fennel and season it with salt and pepper, followed by capers, olives, garlic, and thyme leaves.

  7. Season the fish with salt and pepper.

  8. Layer the lemon across the fish.

  9. Pour the white wine around the fish.

  10. Cover the fish with a parchment paper, and fold the ends of parchment papers tightly to make an envelope.

  11. Place the sheet tray in the preheated oven, and cook it for 14 - 16 minutes.

  12. Remove the sheet tray from the oven, and let it sit for 1 minute before removing the top parchment paper.

  13. ENJOYY!!