As warmer days are getting closer, I often remember the beach vacations we took as a family during summer time. Those were fun, simple & careless days spent by the water, playing soccer or volleyball barefoot in the sand. My native country, Albania is a small country with a beautiful shoreline in the middle of the Mediterranean. It has access to both Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Thus, seafood especially during summer time is abundant. I wanted to bring to you a recipe for Baked Mediterranean Branzino (Sea-Bass) as well as some typical Mediterranean side dishes that go with it. Hope you enjoy this Mediterranean meal:)Jump to Recipe
What is Branzino?
Branzino or Sea-Bass is a popular fish in the Mediterranean region. It is also known as European Bass, White Salmon or Common Bass. Branzino has a mild flavor which is perfect for those who don’t like overwhelming fish flavor. It’s a delicious fish and it has white, flaky flesh. It usually has very little bones. Once I remove the main spine, then the rest of the fish is almost fillet like. I’m usually very careful with what fish i cook because my kids are still young so i don’t want them to choke on a fish bone. This fish is perfect for family meals because it is easy to remove the bones and leave a clean fillet for kids to eat.
How to Cook Branzino or Sea-Bass?
Sea-Bass (Branzino) fish is such a versatile fish that can be cooked so many ways. Branzino can be baked in herbs and lemon, foil or no foil. Also, sea-bass can be grilled or fried. My mom makes an amazing pan seared branzino fillet!! Yumm!! Hope to ask her to make it for me next time she visits:).
This time I baked branzino with cipolline onions, garlic, lemon, rosemany, bay leaves and salt. Then almost at the end i added grape tomatoes! I served the fish with an arugula salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper, onion and olives as well as roasted potatoes.
See below a picture of the side dishes I served with this baked fish:
Baked Mediterranean Branzino Recipe
Even though this looks like an elaborated dish, it is actually very simple. However, it makes for an impressive center piece and will impress your guests. The key is to find fresh, gutted branzino in the grocery store. At least where I live now, it is not very commonly sold. So I get very excited when I can find this fish on sale.
The key ingredients when baking Branzino in my opinion are bay leaves, rosemary and lemons. These are typical ingredients used when cooking seafood in Albania and most other Mediterranean countries. The combination of these 3 ingredients also helps that your house won’t smell like fish after baking for 45 minutes:).
Baked Mediterranean Branzino (Sea-Bass)
- 2 medium size branzinos gutted and cleaned
- 5 tbsps olive oil
- 2 lemons
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 rosemary twigs
- 6 garlic cloves
- 6 cipolline onions
- 5 ozs grape tomatoes
- 0.5 tsp salt add salt to taste
- 6 russet potatoes
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 5 tbsps olive oil
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 4 ozs arugula
- 6 ozs grape tomatoes
- 1 english cucumber
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 shallot
- 5 ozs feta cheese
- 0.5 cup kalamata olives
- 5 tbsps olive oil
- 3 tbsps red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp oregano
- Clean and thaw branzino ahead of time. Place on a baking tray after coating the bottom of the tray with olive oil.
- Cut one lemon in half, juice it and pour the lemon over the 2 branzinos and inside their bellies. Place bay leaves throughout the tray as well as the rosemary twigs. Add the onions and garlic.
- Sprinkle salt over everything in the baking tray. As well as the remaining olive oil. I cut the 2nd lemon in half and add it to the tray. Bake for about 45 minutes at 380 degrees. Add the grape tomatoes the last 10 minutes.
- Please note that baking time depends on thickness of the fish. It can take anywhere from 35-45 minutes. Also, you can choose to broil the last 5 minutes to give a crispy look to the fish.
Roasted Potatoes (tave me patate)
- Peel the potatoes and place them in water.
- Cut potatoes in desired shape. Add olive oil to the baking tray, add potatoes to the tray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley. Add chicken broth and bake for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Try to bake simultaneously with the fish so everything can be ready at the same time.
- You can choose to toss the salad or not. Tossed mixes the flavors better while like i have it in pictures in this post, looks better if you have guest and want a presentable meal.
- Place arugula on a salad flat dish. Add grape tomatoes on top (i cut them in half because of the kids but you don’t have to cut them).
- Peel cucumber, cut and add to the salad. Repeat with shallot, cut in very fine pieces and add to the salad.
- Add olives, feta cheese and chopped green pepper. Choose whichever way it looks appealing to you.
- Add salt and oregano. Finally, pour olive oil and vinegar over the salad or let guest add oil/vinegar to their plates individually.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please pin the below image to Pinterest. Thank you:). Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!!
If you would like to check out some of my other Mediterranean inspired recipes, see below links:
- Mediterranean Leek Casserole
- Spinach Corn Pie Casserole
- Stuffed Peppers
- Lamb Yogurt Bake
- Chicken Orzo Bake