Foolproof Lemon + Fennel Branzino

 
 
 
 

RECIPE

I know cooking a whole fish can be intimidating, but it's the cheapest and simplest way to acquire the best fish in town. You can look at a fish and instantly tell how fresh it is when it's whole and the skin and bones will help flavor the fish without having to put in any extra work. Yes, you do have to watch out for bones, but we're all adults here and we can chew our food. But if you are feeling squeemish about deboning, you can click here to watch this quick little video.

[SERVES 2]

Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds

  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/4th cup olive oil

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped

  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds

  • 1 handful of parsley

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed with skins removed

  • 2 green onions, chopped into 4 equal sized pieces

  • 1 - 1 pound branzino, scaled, cleaned and gutted (this is something the fishmonger at your market can do… if they sell whole fish, they have a fishmonger)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your broiler, if you don’t have a broiler you can turn the oven on as high as it’ll go

  2. Heat a dry small pan over low heat and quickly toast your fennel and cumin seeds

  3. Gently move the seeds around the pan until they’re aromatic, but not discolored or darkened (about 3 minutes)

  4. Transfer the seeds into a small mixing bowl (or cup) and add the salt, olive oil, lemon zest, honey, red pepper flakes and chives

  5. Wash and dry the fish so it’s clean and ready for cooking

  6. Rub the oil mixture all over the exterior of the fish and also inside the fish so it’s evenly distributed

  7. Slide the lemon rounds, parsley, garlic and green onions into belly of the fish

  8. Broil for 5 minutes on one side and flip to broil for 5 minutes on the other

  9. If you are concerned that it isn’t cooked through use a meat thermometer and check to make sure it’s 145 degrees. The meat should be opaque, moist and firm. If it looks translucent at all, give it another minute under the broiler.