Prep time 15 minutes
Active prep time 15 minutes
Special equipment needed: None
Skills needed: Sautéing
The main points of this recipe are introduced in the poaching segment of basic skills, but I show it here as an extremely simple recipe for those who like more specific instructions that list all of the ingredients. It is a perfect way to showcase high quality fish. When I try a new fish, I usually cook it similar to this so that I can really get a feel for the flavors without interference from a lot of external flavors. This dish is simple yet elegant and looks a little chefy while cooking. It allows the fish to be the star of the show. I like to make this with Branzino because it brings such a wonderful flavor of its own and it is extremely forgiving if you go overboard on the heat or cook time. Also, it has an outstanding skin and it works in this preparation with the skin on or off. You could also use just about any firm white fish. White seabass, striped bass, black rockfish, redfish, or red snapper are all good choices here.
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 Large Shallot – Finely chopped
2 large Branzino – filleted, boneless, skin optional
8 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ stick unsalted butter – Chopped into about 8 pieces
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the shallot and cook until it starts to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.
When the shallots are ready, place the fish fillets in the pan and cook for 3 minutes.
Flip them gently. Top each fillet with 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the pan and keep it moving around until it is fully melted. The butter will start to foam and the solids will start to brown.
Add the butter to the pan and keep it moving around until it is fully melted. The butter will start to foam and the solids will start to brown. As soon as the butter starts to brown, tilt the pan so that the butter pools and spoon it over the fish to baste. Do this about 3 times as the fish is cooking. It should take 3-5 minutes for the average branzino to be ready. Start checking for doneness after 3 minutes. It is done when a fork inserted into the middle can easily spread the flakes and they look white and not translucent. Get these onto the plate as quickly as possible and serve hot. These go great over a flavored rice or couscous. Served beside steamed asparagus with a baked sweet potato, this preparation makes for a beautiful healthy dinner.