Pan-Seared Branzino With Herb Salsa

Total Time:
2 hr 40 min
2 hr 20 min
20 min

6 servings

  • 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 12 skin-on branzino fillets (4 to 5 ounces each), pin bones removed
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced

Mince the anchovies, capers, garlic and red pepper flakes together on a cutting board, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and mash into a paste using the flat side of a chef's knife. Transfer to a food processor along with the parsley, mint and marjoram. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth; transfer to a medium bowl.

Toast the fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and crush with the bottom of a small skillet. Combine with 1/4 cup of the herb mixture and the herbes de Provence in a small bowl. Put the fish fillets in a shallow dish and brush with the fennel seed-herb mixture. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.

Meanwhile, add the lemon juice, bell pepper and cucumbers to the remaining herb mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Heat 2 large nonstick skillets over medium-high heat. Brush the excess marinade off the fish. Working in batches, add the fish to the skillets, skin-side up, and cook until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the fillets, pressing with a spatula to sear the skin, and cook 2 more minutes. Serve with the herb salsa and lemon wedges.

Photograph by Kana Okada

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