And we’re back! Apologies for a slightly longer hiatus than I originally anticipated! Performing a three week turnaround interstate move was a little rough and pretty much wiped me out for the past couple of weeks. Nothing really went wrong, it was just exhausting. But we’re officially settled in the district and as per usual things have been quite busy. On top of getting our new place in order, we’ve taken a trip down to Richmond to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, and I took another trip down to Richmond and then over to Charlottesville to visit family. We’ve also already had weekend guests and are pretty much booked through January. But it is SO good to be back, oh my goodness, have I told you how much I missed Virginia?
I do have a bit more time on my hands since I’m back on the job hunt, so I expect to work on some new recipes in the near future. Until then, I leave you with one of the last dishes we cooked while in Stamford: whole roasted Branzino (aka Greek sea bass). I don’t know why it took me so long to find the courage to cook a whole fish. As long as the fishmonger preps it for you and does the dirty work, the process is so simple. Simply rub down and stuff the fish with seasonings and throw it in the oven! We originally wanted to grill this bad boy but as soon as we assembled our goods and made our way to the rooftop grill in Stamford, we discovered it was out of gas. So we quickly changed plans and decided to roast it. I’m glad we did because it proved this dish can be served year round.
1 Branzino, cleaned, scaled, gutted
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 sweet onion, sliced
Generous handful of grape tomatoes
Generous handful of rosemary and thyme sprigs
Baby red potatoes, quartered
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven for 450° F. Lightly oil two large rimmed baking sheets. Rinse the fish and pat it dry using paper towels. Place the fish on one of the baking sheets and season each side, as well as the cavity, with salt and pepper. Stuff the fish with 2-3 lemon slices, rosemary and thyme sprigs, and garlic. You can also stuff the fish with any leftover fennel fronds. Drizzle olive oil over the fish and set aside.
Layer the potatoes, onions, fennel, tomatoes, and any leftover rosemary, thyme, lemon, and garlic on the second baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast until the potatoes and fennel are soft (about 30 minutes). Halfway through, place the baking sheet with the fish in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes.
Scatter the vegetables on a large platter and top with the roasted fish. Serve family style with extra lemon wedges.