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Whole Branzino + New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Whole Branzino with Herbs and Veggies + Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc

fish food & wine montana rae new zealand recipe seafood spring season sustainable white wine Apr 10, 2022

Preparing an entire fish can be a little intimidating but in the case of Branzino, the prep is super easy and the results are dramatic and delicious. I love a one-pan recipe like this! The fresh, colorful veggies enhance the mild flavor of the fish beautifully. Pairing it with a crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc is a great complement to the acidity in the fresh tomato and lemon the dish calls for. Be sure to include fresh dill sprigs – the aroma and flavor of this herb are next level!

Branzino, or European Bass, is a mild white fish popular in Italian and Greek cuisine. When shopping for fish, look for sustainably farmed options. High-quality retailers will disclose the origins of the fish they sell on their website or on the packaging directly. Click this link to learn more about Branzino.

Wine

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a classic combo with a light seafood preparation like this. Astrolabe is a producer I discovered a couple of years back and I thought what better wine to place beside this bright, easy-going dish. This grape variety is aromatic and flavorful, especially when coming from this part of the world. It appears quite light in color and body in the glass but once you stick your nose in the powerful fruit aromas of passionfruit, grapefruit, and lime jump right out.

One way to think about a pairing for a citrus-forward wine like this is to imagine any dish that would benefit from a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime over it. In the case of this Branzino, I wouldn’t serve it without that touch of citrus! 

The name Astrolabe translates to ‘star taker’. This instrument is an ancient astronomical calculator. When winemaker Simon Waghorn started the brand, he chose a name that reflected his effort to “reach the stars” and make the best wines possible.

 “I choose to live and work in Marlborough because I believe the grapes here are the best in the world. I use all my skills and experience to style wines with elegance and balance that capture the intensity and brightness of our fruit. The diverse terroir of Marlborough’s sub-regions broadens my palate as a winemaker to craft complex and individual wines.” 

— Simon Waghorn, Winemaker

Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc is available for order through Wine.Com! Click here to visit the online store

Preparing the Fish

Depending on where you purchase your fish, you may need to clean it before you assemble it for cooking. Just think of this as a little adventure in your culinary journey! I’ve watched a number of videos on how to do this and, for me, this one is the easiest to follow and the most straightforward.

Whole Greek Branzino with Herbs and Veggies

Because of the simplicity of this dish, I strongly recommend using the freshest ingredients possible and doing the full preparation at the time you’re going to serve it. If you’re feeling adventurous you could jazz it up with a lemon sauce or vinaigrette, but it doesn’t require it to be delicious as-is.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2 people

Ingredients:

  • One whole branzino (1 - 1.5 lbs), cleaned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • .25 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 lemon, half sliced into thin rounds and half reserved
  • .5 red onion, sliced into thin rounds 
  • 2-4 sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F
  • Once the fish is cleaned, pat it dry with a paper towel and season liberally with salt and pepper both outside and inside, and stuff the cavity with the lemon and onion slices
  • Place a piece of aluminum foil on a sheet pan (makes clean up super easy) and coat with olive oil then lay the fish in the center. Be sure that the entire underside of the fish is laying in oil or it will be very tricky to turn the fish without tearing the skin.
  • Roast the fish for 6-7 minutes 
  • Turn the oven up to broil at 500°F and carefully turn it over and cook another 7-10 minutes until the flesh turns opaque white and flakes easily with a fork and the skin is crispy and slightly charred
  • Remove the pan from the oven and carefully move the fish to a serving platter
  • Toss the tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper and place around the fish on the platter
  • Add the fresh dill to the plate and top it all with the juice from the remaining half lemon
  • Serve the wine well-chilled and enjoy!

Did you try this recipe?! Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

Bon appétit! - Montana and The Wine Ship Cru

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