LAST YEAR I STARTED A NEW HOLIDAY TRADITION IN OUR HOUSE: MAKING FISH AS THE SHOW-STOPPING CHRISTMAS MEAL.
It’s not unusual to have fish in many parts of the world, particularly the Mediterranean. But in our household, it was all about turkey (or heavier options). Last year I decided to make this “Chermoula-Marinated Whole Fish, Stuffed with Lemons, Olives & Capers“. It looked impressive, tasted divine and was a hit with the guests. So this year I’m sticking with fish.
This is a branzino, brushed with an orange-vinaigrette and stuffed with oranges. The oranges look uber festive, in my opinion. This recipe is inspired by a Giada De Laurentiis recipe. My version has a bit of chilli for a kick.
Just one note: branzino is Mediterranean sea bass. It’s typically a smaller fish, so make more than one depending on the number of people you’re feeding. If you can’t find branzino, use any sea bass or white flaky fish.
HERE’S MY TAKE:
- Olive oil for frying, plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 whole branzino, gutted (or sea bass)
- Sea salt and ground pepper for seasoning
- 1 large orange (cut into round slices)
- 1 large orange (juiced – you’ll need 1/4 cup)
- 2-4 sprigs fresh oregano, plus 1 tsp chopped oregano
- 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (adjust to your liking)
- String/twine to tie the fish
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
- Make the vinaigrette by whisking together 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, big pinch of salt, chopped oregano Dijon mustard and chilli flakes. Set aside.
- Season the branzino inside and out with salt and pepper.
- Stuff the cavity of each branzino with the sliced tangerine and oregano sprigs.
- Cut 2 shallow slits diagonally into branzino on each side of the fish.
- Brush the vinaigrette generously all over the fish, inside and out.
- Close the belly and tie string around the fish to keep the filling inside (you might need two pieces of string).
- Heat a large skillet over a high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Sear the fish until golden, pressing down gently to ensure even browning and crispness. Flip the fish and repeat.
- Transfer the fish to roasting dish, and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. The fish should be cooked through and flaky.
- Remove the fish from the oven. Discard the string. Drizzle more of the vinaigrette all over the fish and serve.
SINCE I DON’T DO TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY MEALS, HERE IS THIS YEAR’S NON-TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY PLAYLIST.
First, a remix of one of this year’s biggest hits, and my fave version of Justin Bieber’s Where Are U Now:
Here’s a new take of an oldie:
Finally, this Beyonce remix has been around for a couple of years, but it rocks: