Mediterranean Branzino

Mediterranean Branzino

Branzino is another name for Mediterranean sea bass. This preparation pairs it with the nutty sweetness of braised sunchokes and the licorice-like delicacy of braised fennel. Plugra European-Style Butter adds a richness to the sauces that are served with with both.

Recipe Credits

Chef Amy Eubanks
Prep time:
Cooking time:
Total time:


  • Braised Fennel
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, thinly-sliced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 quart fish fumet (or fish stock)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch Piment d’Espelette
  • pinch saffron
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Braised Sunchokes
  • 1 quart sunchokes, fresh, peeled, cut into large pieces
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup Butter unsalted
  • pinch salt
  • Saffron Broth
  • 1 1/2 cup saffron braising liquid (reserved from Braised Fennel recipe)
  • 2 ounce Butter, unsalted, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fennel fronds
  • 1 tablespoon sliced fennel tops
  • Branzino
  • 6 Branzino filets, skin on
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt and pepper as needed


Braised Fennel
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the sliced fennel and cook slowly until wilted with no color.
  2. Splash the lemon juice over the fennel and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce. Reserve.
  3. To prepare the saffron braising liquid: combine the fish fumet, cayenne pepper, Piment d’Espelette, saffron and thyme in a heavy sauce pan and simmer over high heat until fully heated.
  4. Strain liquid; combine with cooked fennel and simmer until fennel is tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Strain the fennel through a chinois and reserve fennel and braising liquid separately.
  1. Place the sunchokes in a braising pan; barely cover with vegetable stock, add Plugrá Butter and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cover pan with foil and braise in a preheated oven at 350°F for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool sunchokes in the braising liquid.
  3. Separate the soft sunchokes from the firm sunchokes. Fork-crush the soft sunchokes and dice the firm sunchokes. Fold the two together and stir in ½ cup of the braising liquid. Season with salt and pepper.
Saffron Broth
  1. Heat reserved saffron braising liquid in sauté pan. Reduce heat and slowly add the Plugrá Butter, piece by piece, whisking continually until sauce has thickened.
  2. Combine the braised fennel, sunchokes, chopped fennel fronds and sliced fennel tops in a separate sauté pan with a small amount of the warm sauce and heat.
  3. Reserve remaining sauce for plating.
  1. Slice each filet in half; season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in sauté pan; gently arrange filet halves in pan, skin side down, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until golden crusty on the bottom and opaque on the top. Flip the filets and cook briefly.
  3. Remove from skillet and repeat with remaining filets. Keep warm.
  1. To assemble each plate, portion 2 scoops of the braised sunchokes and fennel mixture in center of plate; spoon sauce around mixture.
  2. Arrange the Branzino filet halves against the sunchokes and fennel mixture and garnish with sliced fennel bulb and fronds.