What Is Branzino And How Do You Cook It?

Have you ever wondered what that one dish is called that is just a full fish served up on a plate? Well, go no further! Branzino fish, or "wolf of the sea" as many in Europe call it, is exactly that, a fish, according to On The Gas

Branzino is European bass and is a white fish, similar to halibut. This fish thrives in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, which makes it very popular in Italian style cuisines. It is often used in German dishes such as levaraki or europäischer wolfsbarsch. This might be why you probably do not seek it out on your grocery store runs. The flaky fish is usually served whole and placed next to citrus fruits to squeeze and serve over the top.

Branzino fish are all over the coastal areas of Europe, which is certainly why the dish has become so popular over there.

What exactly is branzino?

It is a fish! A white meat fish that is flaky and sweet. Branzino fish are great as a full meal because they really vary in size, but are very filling. This is a very distinct fish that isn't classified as a bass or trout, it is simply a branzino fish. It is best known for its airy, light, flaky texture, and subtle flavor.

These fish know how to eat, making them vary anywhere from 1 to 3 pounds in size. They enjoy a diet of other fish and shellfish and also hunt at night (via On The Gas). They are also a migratory species, meaning they migrate in the winter into warmer waters.

The mild flavors of branzino make it a great fish to pair with flavorful spices and herbs. It works well with Asian ingredients such as chilis, or Mediterranean style dishes that use a lot of fennel and tomatoes.

How do you cook it?

There are many ways to cook this fish, especially since it is eaten all over Europe. Whether you want to use a Greek, French, Italian, or Mediterranean recipe, you are bound to taste a decadent, fall apart in your mouth fish. Since the fish is cooked whole, the easiest and most traditional way of cooking it is in the oven or on the grill.

Simple ingredients such as rosemary, oregano, red onion, and lemon can transform the fish into classic Greek cuisine. The fish can be baked on a low 325 degrees for about 25 minutes. All you have to do is place the fish on a baking dish, season it up, and stuff the center with lemons for tangy zest. 

European bass can be grilled similarly to regular bass. Once you season the fish with whatever flavor you are really going for that night (it truly lends itself well to many flavors), you can simply place it on a clean and well oiled grill. Be sure to watch the fish carefully because it is flaky. You don't want it to get too stuck to the grill.

Nutritional value of branzino

Fish, overall, are pretty good for people to eat in moderation, making branzino a top low-calorie contender. In just 1 pound of branzino, there is a little less than 300 calories (via The Spruce Eats). That is a lot of food for a small amount of calories. It also has a pretty low mercury level, making it safer for adults and children to consume more regularly.

There is not a lot of fat that comes on this fish and is a great source for those much-needed omega-3 fatty acids. It is a leaner kind of fish, also making it a perfect source for polyunsaturated fatty acids (via Nutrition and You). It offers protein, minerals, vitamins A, E, and D as well.

Because of its low mercury levels and high levels of body-loving nutrients, branzino is a great fish to enjoy a couple of times a week and not feel bad about it!