I love this recipe because it's healthy, flavorful and I never feel guilty eating it. The fresh spring vegetables compliment the light, flaky fish while the lemon adds a fresh brightness.
Technique tip: Soak the cedar plank it doesn't burn in the oven while providing a great transfer of smoky flavor.
Swap option: You can use sea bream or any light, flaky fish filet that is not more than half 1/2-inch thick.
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup garlic, chopped
- 2 heaping tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
- One 12-ounce can tomatoes
- 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano
- 1 large teaspoon toasted and ground fennel seed
- 2 branzino, butterflied
- 2 cedar planks, soaked in water for 1 hour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup diced leeks (white and light green parts only), rinsed very well
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup thinly sliced asparagus (about 1/2 pound)
- 1 cup fresh peas, blanched if very large
- 1 lemon, four very thin slices taken from it, and those slices cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the glaze:
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir well to combine.
For the branzino:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Place fish, skin side-down, on each cedar plank and brush liberally with the glaze, if using. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
3. Place in the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes.
For the vegetables:
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and the pepper flakes and season with a little salt. Cook, stirring, until the leeks are tender and a bit browned, 8-10 minutes. Add the asparagus and peas, and cook, tossing the mixture together, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the sliced lemon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lemon has wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the tarragon, stir to combine well, and remove the vegetables from heat. Squeeze a little lemon juice from the remaining lemon over all. Taste and season with addition salt, if needed, and a little and black pepper.
Spoon the vegetables over the fish and serve on the cedar planks.