Grilled Branzino with Grape-Eggplant Caponata
New York City
Branzino is a Mediterranean fish that’s showing up more frequently on U.S. menus. Some restaurants grill or bake the fish whole, but the recipe-ready fillets are available from most seafood suppliers. At Restaurant Associates, the fillets are deboned but the skin is left on and the fish is quickly cooked on the grill. A zesty caponata accents the grilled branzino.
1 lb. eggplant, peeled and medium diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large red onion, brunoise (julienned and diced)
2 small red bell peppers, seeded and medium diced
2 large celery stalks, sliced thin on the bias
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 lb. heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded and medium diced
3 oz. capers, drained
4 oz. red wine vinegar
2 oz. granulated sugar
1 lb. seedless red grapes, halved
Fresh basil and parsley leaves
2 lb. branzino fillets
- Salt the diced eggplant and allow to sit for 30 minutes in a perforated hotel pan; squeeze out excess water from eggplant.
- In deep, heavy-bottom saute pan over medium-high heat, heat a thin film of olive oil; add red onion and cook 3 minutes until tender. Stir in eggplant, bell pepper, celery and red pepper flakes; cook until vegetables begin to sweat. Add tomatoes; cook about 8 minutes.
- When the tomatoes have released their juices, add capers, vinegar, sugar and about 1 cup water. Cook 8 minutes longer.
- Stir in grapes; cook 10 to 12 minutes until grapes just begin to wilt. Finish with fresh parsley, basil, salt and pepper; cool immediately.
- Preheat a grill and rub with an oil-soaked cloth. Season branzino with salt and white pepper and place fish on hot grill, skin-side down. Cook 2 minutes; turn fish in the opposite direction to create proper grill marks. Once grill marks are achieved remove fillet from grill and finish flesh side down in the oven.
- To serve, plate fish with cooked lentil-farro pilaf and caponata.
Photo courtesy of California Table Grape Commission