Branzino and Beurre Blanc
At the Food Fight Showcase in the spring of 2019, we asked many of our restaurants to show-off their skills. Every restaurant offered delicious tasting options but Executive Chef Giovanni Novella really went all out at the Fresco’s sampling station.
He prepared a 30lb group, baked in a salt crust and served with a beurre blanc sauce. Needless to say, this show-stopping dish wowed the crowd. Countless people reached out wanting the recipe. So here it is!
2-lb kosher salt
4 large egg whites
4 star anise
1 tbsp pink pepper
3 cloves garlic
4 large lemons, zested
1 - 2-lb whole Branzino, gutted (Note - you can use any mild, white fish.)
2 bunches of parsley (1 bunch chopped finely, 1 bunch left whole)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In a large bowl mix salt, eggs whites, star anise, 1 bunch of parsley finely chopped, pink peppercorns and lemon zest.
- Slice 2 lemons into thin rounds and stuff the cavity of fish with the remaining bunch of parsley.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread a 1⁄4-inch-thick layer of the salt mixture onto the pan, just large enough to lay the fish on top.
- Cover fish with the rest of salt mixture, pressing down firmly to enclose the fish.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until internal temperature reads 135°F.
- Take out of the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Gently crack open and remove the salt crust.
Reserve some of the leftover salt crust on the table for sprinkling purposes.
Beurre Blanc Sauce
2 cups shallot (peeled, sliced)
3 cloves garlic
2 cups White Wine
1 tbsp. black peppercorn
2 bay leaves
1 stalk of fresh rosemary
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups Lemon Juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 lb cold butter
salt and pepper to taste
- In a 4-quart stainless steel sauce pot sautée shallots and garlic in vegetable oil over medium heat for 5 minutes, add black peppercorns, bay leaves, and rosemary. Continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add white wine, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Reduce until sauce resembles a thick syrup.
- Add heavy cream and return to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer until the sauce has reduced again.
- While the sauce thickens, cut cold butter into rough cubes.
Over medium-low heat, using a whisk, stir in butter cubes to emulsify. Add butter cubes a few at a time. Check sauce temperature after each addition to ensuring sauce returns to 160 degrees.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or chinois and transfer to a storage container. Store in refrigerator.