Marinated sea bass recipe
In northern Italy sea bass is known as branzino, while southerners serve it under the name spigola. It’s essentially the same fish and marinated sea bass is utterly delicious.
I first became aware of the spigola, when a waiter at a restaurant in Otranto presented it on a platter as one of the exquisitely fresh, local menu options of the day. A few days later in Taranto, a small piece of branzino coated in fried breadcrumbs was served as part of an elaborate antipasto. Finding out that spigola and branzino are essentially the same fish, I started collecting sea bass recipes and looking for it at my local fishmonger.
Sea bass is an extremely delicate, white fish with few bones. The meat is tongue-melting moist and tender, a bit like an elegant, superior version of blue mackerel. For this reason it is highly coveted and not inexpensive.
In my opinion this sea bass recipe manages to bring out the full flavour of the fish with minimal preparation.
2 sea bass
1 bunch of parsley
1 clove of garlic
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Ask the fishmonger to remove intestines and clean the fish. Place the entire fishes in a dish coated with olive oil and bake them at 200 C 360 F for 10 minutes on both sides. You can also grill the fish on a barbecue, or ask the fishmonger to prepare fillets, if you don’t feel comfortable with handling an entire fish. Fillets should be damped for about 5 minutes only.
Make a cut along the backbone of the fish with a sharp knife. Make incisions in the skin along head and tail and ease the fillet of the bone. Use tweezers to remove any stray bones. Turn the fish around and repeat the procedure from the other side.
Make a dressing of finely chopped parsley and garlic, grated lemon zest, olive oil and lemon juice.
Pour the dressing over the sea bass and place the fish in the fridge until it is time to serve.
Depending on the menu this sea bass recipe serves 4 people when used as a secondo following a filling pasta dish. As a one course meal, you need one sea bass per person. You can also use marinated sea bass as part of a collection of bite sized antipasti and then two fish could be made to serve 8 people.