Roasted Branzino with Caper Butter
- ACTIVE: 25 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 40 MIN
- SERVINGS: 8
"It's almost impossible to end up with dry, overcooked fish when cooking it whole," says chef Steve Corry. "The bones protect against extreme heat, plus they add flavor and moisture." Here, Corry pan-roasts whole branzino, Mediterranean sea bass, that's stuffed simply with lemon and rosemary. He makes the easy compound butter, which melts on the fish to become a sauce, with wild Tunisian mountain capers, although any caper will work.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Four 1- to 1 1/4-pound whole branzino or striped bass, scaled and gutted
- 1 lemon, sliced into 8 rounds
- 4 large rosemary sprigs
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, mix the butter with the capers, lemon juice and parsley and season with salt. Keep at room temperature.
- Season the branzino cavities with salt and stuff 2 lemon rounds and 1 rosemary sprig in each. Season the fish with salt.
- In a large, nonstick, ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add 2 of the branzino and cook over high heat until the skin is browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 stuffed branzino. Roast the fish in the oven for about 10 minutes, until just cooked through.
- Serve whole or filleted, passing the caper butter at the table.
When prepared simply, mild branzino can be overwhelmed by big, New World white wines, but it pairs well with Vermentino, the crisp Italian white.