Stuffed and Roasted Whole Branzino with Charred Tomatoes and Parsley Lemon Sauce
2 whole cleaned (gutted and deboned) Branzini
1/2 lemon sliced into thin rounds
8 very thin slices fennel and 2 Tbs fennel fronds
4 sprigs thyme, 2 of them with leaves picked and roughly chopped
1 Tbs. good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. olive oil or canola oil
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
In a medium bowl, toss lemon rounds, fennel, fronds, chopped thyme, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper to combine. Open the fish and season inside with salt and pepper. Divide the lemon, fennel mixture between the 2 branzini, use kitchen string in about 1 1/2 inch intervals to secure the fish closed, then gently place the thyme sprigs under the ties on 1 side.
Heat a large cast iron or heavy bottom skillet over med-high heat. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom skillet over med high heat and add 1 Tbs. pure olive oil or canola oil. Place the fish into the skillet and sear for about 3 minutes, then transfer skillet to oven (without turning fish). Roast for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to plate, seared side up. Remove string and serve.
2 tomatoes, sliced thick into rounds (about 1 inch)
1 Tbs. olive oil
Heat a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom skillet over med high heat. Add oil then sear the tomato slices until charred but still holding together, about 45 seconds per side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to serve.
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 Tbs capers, drained
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
Mix all ingredients together and serve over fish.