Last time on the blog, we gave you a firsthand look into how we sustainably source fish from Nireus Aquaculture in Greece. If that story left you inspired to give their incredible branzino, dorade, and tai snapper a try, what better way to get started than with one of these recipes from the FreshDirect kitchen!
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Branzino Fillets with Roasted Tomato Spaghetti
Oven-roasted tomatoes, olives, capers and thyme get tossed with spaghetti and topped with crispy-skinned branzino fillets for an impressive pasta dish that’s easy enough for a weeknight.
What You’ll Need:
Fillets from two branzino
Two 10-12 oz. packages grape or cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tablespoons sliced Kalamata olives
1 teaspoon capers
4 sprigs thyme
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
One 16 oz. package spaghetti
What to Do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Season branzino fillets with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, garlic, olives, capers, thyme, ¼ cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread mixture out on a baking sheet, then transfer to oven. Roast until the tomatoes have softened and are slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Keep in a warm place while preparing the fish and pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook according to package instructions.
While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Place the branzino fillets skin-side down in the pan. Fillets will curl slightly as they cook, so press lightly with a spatula to flatten them out after a minute of cooking. Cook until the tops of the fillets are opaque, 4-5 minutes (no need to flip, the fillets are thin enough to cook through). Remove from the pan.
Toss the drained pasta with tomato mixture and place on a platter. Top with branzino fillets. Serve immediately.
Oven-Steamed Tai Snapper with Soy Sauce and Ginger
This classic Chinese dish of fish dressed in soy sauce and ginger is traditionally prepared using a whole fish. We’ve simplified it by using tai snapper fillets instead, which steam quickly inside foil pouches that you can just pop in the oven.
What You’ll Need:
2 tablespoons ginger
3 sprigs cilantro
One 6-10 oz tai snapper fillet, or other white fish filet
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
6 tablespoons water, divided
2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
What to do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Julienne the scallion and ginger. Roughly chop the cilantro. Set aside.
For each fillet, cut a roughly 12×18 inch piece of aluminum foil and fold it in half lengthwise to create a crease down the middle. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and place in the center of the fold. Lift the ends and join at the top. Fold the edges of the ends over to create a pouch.
Place 3-4 tablespoons of water in the pouch and fold the top together, creating an airtight package. Place on a sheet pan. Transfer to oven and bake 8-10 minutes.
While the fish cooks, place soy sauce, salt, sugar and 2 tablespoons water into a small bowl and mix well.
Remove the fish from the oven and let rest for 1 minute before slowly opening to release the steam. Transfer fish to a plate, leaving the water behind.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat then add the ginger, gently stirring until lightly browned. Add the scallions and toss with the ginger until they just start to wilt. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the pan and heat through for 3-4 minutes. Spoon the mixture over the fillets. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.
Salt-baking might sound fancy and salty, but it isn’t! This simple technique is a great method for cooking whole fish, infusing it with gentle flavors, trapping in the moisture, and filling your home with the lovely scent of aromatics. It’s an entertaining showstopper and no one needs to know just how easy it is to make. One dorade is good for two people. If using a tai snapper or other larger whole fish, add an additional cup of salt, serving 3 to 4.
What You’ll Need:
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
5 cups coarse kosher salt
1 small sprig of rosemary, cut into a few pieces
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 star anise pod, cracked
3/4 cup egg whites (from 5 large eggs)
1 whole Dorade or other whole fish
What to Do:
Preaheat oven to 400 degrees. Finely grate zest of lemon and orange into a large bowl. Add the salt, rosemary, fennel seeds, star anise and egg whites. Mix well. If needed, sprinkle water until the texture is like wet sand.
Spread one third of the mixture on a baking tray, patting it to flatten.
Pat the dorade dry with paper towels, then rub it all over with olive oil.
Place dorade on top of salt mixture on tray, then cover with the remaining salt mixture, using your hands to closely mold and pack it around the fish, covering the entire surface.
Transfer tray to oven and bake for 15 minutes. Once done, let rest for 10 minutes before carefully breaking crust from the side, lifting off the hard top shell. Peel off the fish skin and discard. The meat should slide easily off the bone for easy serving.