Light & Simple: Branzino and Zucchini

Here are two recipes from our astrology cookbook SIGNS & SEASONS for a special summer dinner:

Grilled Branzino

Serves 4

Branzino is a Mediterranean seabass with delicate white flesh. Combined with a side of zucchini medallions, this makes a light, simple, meal for a hot summer night.

Capers are the unopened, pickled flower buds of capparis spinosa, a plant indigenous to the Mediterranean. Their savory mustard-like tang is a wonderful enhancement for seafood.

¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp. pepper

4 branzino fillets, skin on

¼ cup lemon olive oil dressing

1 tsp. salt-cured capers, unrinsed

2 lemons, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 425F. Heat a gas or a wood grill.

Pour the olive onto a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Coat each fillet with the mixture.

Combine the lemon olive oil dressing with the capers in a small bowl and set aside.

Make sure grill is hot and clean and the flesh-side of the fillets are well-oiled. Place them flesh-side down on the grill for about 30 seconds. Gently lift with a spatula to see if grill marks have appeared. If so, they should slide off the grill intact.

Return them skin-side down to the baking tray and pour the lemon olive oil-caper mixture over them. Finish cooking in the oven, about 2 or 3 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Note about Grilling Fish

Putting fish on the grill is quick and easy. Fish with firm flesh, such as swordfish and monkfish can be cooked entirely on the grill. Fish with medium firm flesh, such as bass and salmon will tend to flake apart if cooked entirely on the grill. They are best started on the grill and finished in a hot oven or under a broiler. When putting fish fillets or steaks on the grill, it is essential that the grill be hot and well-cleaned with a sturdy, stiff wire grill brush.

Dilled Zucchini and Scallions

Serves 4

Zucchini squash, with its mild, comforting, moistness has lunar qualities. Its taste is as soothing as a mother’s touch. Seared, moon-shaped medallions of zucchini tossed with scallions and dill makes a light summer side dish that pairs well with seafood.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium zucchini, cut into ½ -inch thick rounds

4 scallions, finely chopped

⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon salt

black pepper

¼ cup finely chopped dill leaves

In a skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil on high until it is just short of smoking. Lay the zucchini rounds down flat in the pan. (If they don’t all fit in your pan, do them in two pans or batches.) Put the lid on the pan and cook for a short minute, until the zucchini rounds are golden on one side. Turn them over and sear the other sides similarly.

Remove from the heat. (If you seared them in two batches, return the first batch to the pan.) Add the chopped scallions, crushed red pepper, salt, a few grinds of black pepper and the dill leaves to the pan and stir.

Cover the pan and let sit for 2 or 3 minutes, allowing time for the scallions and dill to wilt, the flavors to mingle and the zucchini to soften a bit more. The medallions should be crisp-tender, firm and just barely cooked through to the center.

Serve the medallions garnished with the wilted scallions and dill.

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