In The Kitchen: Broiled Whole Branzino

January 25th, 2011

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In pursuit of my goal of eating and cooking more fish, I decided to order some in a recent FreshDirect order. Part of my difficulty with fish is that I have a hard time keeping track of what fish have which textures. Some are firm, some or soft and mushy, some are oily and strongly flavored. I still don’t have a lot in the way of a point of reference. So, I decided to go with the less imaginative option and just try to recreate the dish I had at Eataly the other day.
I ordered a whole branzino, just like I had there, butterflied and deboned. See how it went after the jump…

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I didn’t try much in the way of a recipe here. I feel like the biggest benefit of cooking fish to be that they don’t really take a lot of preparation. Fish cooks fast and doesn’t need much in the way of seasoning or marinating. Keeping that in mind, I doused the fish with olive oil, sprinkled some salt & pepper on it and dropped a few tarragon leaves on top.
I put it in a cast iron skillet and put it in the broiler for about five minutes. When I pulled it out, it looked pretty great, but the underside needed a little heat. And this is where the lesson comes.
It turns out that fish spatulas exist for a reason. Because of the delicate texture of the flesh, it fell apart as soon as I tried to flip it. It turns out those fish spatulas aren’t just a useless gadget. In the end, it wasn’t as attractive as I’d have liked, but I wasn’t serving it to anyone but myself, so I enjoyed it just fine.

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