Branzino Arrosto – Roasted Sea Bass with fennel and olives – paired with Verdicchio.
Okay, now we’re all revved up. Last week I shared the first course from an Italian wine pairing class at Kitchen Wizards. Today is Course Two. Chef Herve made it very clear to the class that a fresh fish should…come with a head. It also made it easier to slip the ingredients inside, see those listed below, that would make the dish flavorful.
A Taste of Italy
(whole roasted sea bass serves 2)
1 bulb fennel
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup calamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 sprigs ea. sage, thyme and rosemary
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 two to 3 lb. Branzino, cleaned and scaled, with head and tail left on.
Pre-heat oven to 350˚
• Remove some of the leafy greens from the fennel and place in a bowl.
• Cut fennel in half and slice as thin as possible. Add to tops.
• Zest the orange and 1 lemon and add to fennel.
Juice both and set aside.
• Add ¼ olive oil, the olives, herbs and 1 tsp. of salt and ½ tsp. of pepper. Toss like a salad and set aside.
• Pat fish dry, inside and out. Then rub with remaining olive oil. Salt and pepper inside and out.
• Stuff cavity with the fennel salad and place on a foil covered baking sheet.
• Slice the remaining lemon and place, shingled, onto the fish.
• Place baking sheet onto the middle rack in the oven and bake 20 minutes per pound or about 40 minutes total.
• Add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to the reserved juice to make a light dressing.
Add salt and pepper and serve on the side.