Friday, April 15, 2016

Whole Roasted Branzini for #FishFridayFoodies

This month's Fish Friday Foodies is being hosted by my friend, Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  Camilla is lucky enough to live in California and is able to get fresh seafood and fish year round.  I live in Michigan and we are surrounded by fresh water.  We have great fish but it is seasonal.  I guess I could go ice fishing if I chose but that is not really my cup of tea.  Living where she does, Camilla makes a lot of fish and has some great recipes that she shares regularly.  You really should check them out.

Camilla chose Whole Fish/Seafood for our theme.  The only time I have made whole fish was many years ago when we were visiting Frank's cousin, Eugene, up north and he brought home some Brook Trout that he had just caught.  He cleaned the fish and left it whole, I seasoned it with salt and pepper, stuffed it with some onions, lemons and tomatoes, wrapped it in foil and threw it on the grill.  This was nearly twenty years ago and my mouth still waters whenever I remember that meal.

I was excited when Cam chose this theme and anxious to try my hand at a Whole Fish again.  I wasn't sure what I was going to make.  I was actually wishing that it was a little later in the year.  In a couple of weeks the Smelt will be running in Michigan and sometimes, when I am lucky and the Smelt is plentiful, some of our friends who go Smelt dipping share with us.  Smelt are tiny little fish.  When my Pops would bring them home my Mom would snip off  their heads and slice their bellies.  I was in charge of rinsing out the innards and throwing them in seasoned flour.  Pops would fry them up and you eat them....bones, tail and all....kind of like french fries.  So delicious!!!

The fish market had several whole fish from which to choose.  Whiting which I have never tried but plan on doing so soon.  Flounder which is delicious but I wasn't sure how you would cook a whole flounder and Branzini, a sea bass from Greece.  I have had Branzini once before in a restaurant while on vacation and it was delicious.  I decided that this was the fish I would prepare for today.


I seasoned the fish inside and out liberally with kosher salt and lemon pepper seasoning.  Then I stuffed the cavity of the fish with lemons, fennel bulb and fennel fronds.  I drizzled the entire fish with some Tuscan Herb Olive Oil and topped it with more lemon slices, placed it in a hot oven for 15 minutes and dinner was served!


I wanted to show the whole fish once it was roasted in the spirit of this theme, however when serving it to guests you may want to remove the head.  Many people find that opaque eye unsettling.  I roasted one fish for Frank and I to share and served it up after removing it from the carcass.  The flesh slips right away from the bones and skin.


I served it up with a tomato and mozzarella salad and a side of mac and cheese.  The Branzini was flaky and a light white meat.  It is better suited for a lighter side, perhaps some rice or roasted vegetables but Frank was hankering for some Mac and Cheese so that was what he got.  I paired the fish with a Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone that I posted about in last week's WinePW.

Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies?  We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of each month.  To join our group please email me at wendyklik1517@gmail.com.  Visit our Facebook page and Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipes.

Now let's take a look at what the other's are sharing with us this month!

23 comments:

  1. Mmm... what a fantastic dinner! I love how elegant fresh seafood is, and how quickly it cooks!

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  2. Thanks, Wendy!! I love this. Did you see The Saucy Southerner's whole flounder addition to this round-up?? I'm inspired. Thanks for starting this group. I love it!

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    1. I did Cam. It is on my to make list. I love this group too.

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  3. Branzini was my original thought before I ended up on squid, it's one of my favorite fish and this sounds great. I love seeing all the great recipes each month - thanks for prompting us all by starting the group.

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    1. My pleasure Caroline, this has turned into a fantastic group.

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  4. I've never had Branzini, but I'd love to try it. But my mouth started watering when you mentioned smelts. They are delicious, and a taste from my distant childhood. sigh.

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    1. I am definitely doing a smelt post soon Sid.

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  5. The fennel sounds like such a fabulous idea! I must try it.

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    1. I love fennel, Sue...especially when roasted and caramelized.

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  6. Serving it with mac and cheese sounds like perfection!!! Some day I'd love to try that smelt!!!

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    1. I will be cooking some smelt up soon Karen. It is the dish I have chosen for Cook the Books this time.

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  7. You're my kind of host…one that doesn't make me stare at the eyeball through dinner! Adore your recipe and your childhood memory! I loved fishing as a child, and wish it was something I hadn't grown out of!

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    1. Thanks Colleen, I would love to have you as my guest.

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  8. Branzini sounds like a fancy name...brother of Martini kinds 😀 Have never heard of this fish. Love the way it cooks. Thanks for sharing about your lovely childhood, about your Mom and Pops and even about Cam :)

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    1. A Branzini Martini....A drink to have with roasted fish...perfect Georgina!!

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  9. Branzini always makes me think of one of the Spiderman movies because he is served that at his girlfriend's house and that was the first time I had heard of this fish.

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    1. What a great little tidbit of Trivia. I missed it completely when I watched the movie. Thanks Jade.

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  10. I just love your use of fennel fronds in the stuffing! Brilliant. Mr. Saucy and I are fly fishermen and live in a place that abounds with trout streams. The next time I bring home trout, I'm trying this! P~

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    1. Nothing, absolutely nothing better than fresh brook trout. I am so jealous.

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  11. Love the stuffing Wendy.. fish is mouthwatering.

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