Whole Roasted Branzino with Lemon Caper Sauce

Make the lemon caper sauce while the fish is in the oven, roasting.  

serves 2

1 whole Branzino (Mediterranean Sea Bass)
1 large lemon, zested
2 teaspoons capers in salt
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons butter (if you don't want to use butter, you can use extra virgin olive oil)
1 Tablespoon minced red onion
¼ cup white wine
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley 
salt & pepper 

Preheat the oven to 400° F.   Rinse fish, inside and out.  Pat dry.  Make 3 slits with a very sharp knife in the sides of the fish, about a quarter inch deep.  Place the fish on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or foil.

Cut the zested lemon in half.  Juice one half and slice the other half into 3 slices. Rinse the salt from the capers.

Season the inside of the fish with some salt and pepper.  Stuff the cavity with the lemon slices and fresh thyme. Place the fish in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.  

While the fish is cooking, make the sauce:
In a small skillet, add the butter and onion.  Saute the onion gently until soft, about 4 - 5 minutes.  Add the white wine and cook for a few seconds, then add the lemon zest and the capers.  Cook on low for about 2 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and parsley, shut off the heat and cover with a lid to keep the sauce warm and moist. 

Turn on broiler and broil the fish for about a minute and a half, til it crisps up a little.

Debone the fish:
Place a serving platter next to the fish.  With a very sharp knife, cut alongside the backbone, across the tail, across the belly and below the gills.  With a spatula, remove the top fillet and place on the serving dish, skin down.  Grab the tail of the fish and pull up.  The spine will come away from the underside of the fish, along with the head.  If any bones are obviously missing from the spine, remove them from the fish. (Branzino doesn't have many small bones, so if you get the spine out with the large bones, that's what counts.)  Remove the top and bottom fins, if they are still attached.  Place the bottom fillet on the serving dish. 

Drizzle the lemon caper sauce over the fish and serve immediately.

The Italian Dish

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