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 CreditsChef Amy Eubanks
- 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
- 6 Branzino filets, skin on
- Olive oil as needed
- Salt and pepper as needed
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Add the sliced fennel and cook slowly until wilted with no color.
- Splash the lemon juice over the fennel and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce. Reserve.
- 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.
- Strain liquid; combine with cooked fennel and simmer until fennel is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Strain the fennel through a chinois and reserve fennel and braising liquid separately.
- Place the sunchokes in a braising pan; barely cover with vegetable stock, add Plugrá Butter and season with salt and pepper.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reserve remaining sauce for plating.
- Slice each filet in half; season on both sides with salt and pepper.
- 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.
- Remove from skillet and repeat with remaining filets. Keep warm.
- To assemble each plate, portion 2 scoops of the braised sunchokes and fennel mixture in center of plate; spoon sauce around mixture.
- Arrange the Branzino filet halves against the sunchokes and fennel mixture and garnish with sliced fennel bulb and fronds.