Branzino Marine the King of Seafood Appetizers

April 9, 2021

Raw sea bass fillets are marinated in citrus juice, olive oil and vinegar to produce a fresh and delicate dish with many regional varieties.

A Turkish recipe named ‘levrek marin’ which translates to ‘marinated sea bass’. This spectacular dish is popularly served throughout restaurants in Turkey as a seafood appetizer.

The dish is easy to recreate at home as long as you can source high quality, fresh fish, the rest of the ingredients are readily available and the method is very simple. In this recipe we have provided a step-by-step guide to preparing the branzino from a whole gutted fish, if you would prefer you can ask your fishmonger to fillet, debone and remove the skin of the fish.

Branzino MarinePhoto By Canva
Taste Score: %91
Difficulty Medium
Servings 8 people
Preparation 735 mins
Cooking 0 mins
Total 735 mins

Tips

  • The same recipe can be followed using a variety of fish including red snapper, sea bream, red mullet, flounder, red gurnard, mackerel and gray mullet which can all be found in the seas surrounding Turkey.

Ingredients

Directions

Onions

  1. Thinly slice the onion, place into a bowl and season with salt. Mix and rub the salt into the onions and marinade for 5 minutes.
  2. Rinse the onions under cold water and strain to remove excess moisture.

Marinade

  1. In a mixing bowl combine the lemon juice, mustard, apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
  2. Whisk the ingredients to form the base of the marinade then add the mustard seeds, black peppercorn, white peppercorn and bay leaf.

Branzino

  1. Place the sea bass fillets on a chopping board and pat dry with a kitchen cloth.
  2. Remove any skin and fish bones from the fillets, then with a sharp knife thinly cut one-inch slices of the sea bass fillets along the width of the fish.
  3. Into a shallow dish add the onions, sliced branzino and the marinade.
  4. Using gloves, mix the branzino marine to coat all the ingredients evenly in the marinade.
  5. Cover the shallow dish with saran wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours.
  6. Remove the mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaf from the dish, season with salt, black pepper and extra mustard to taste.
  7. Serve the branzino marine chilled as a seafood starter.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Branzino Marine
Serves 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories243
% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 7 mg2.3%
Sodium 63 mg2.7%
Potassium 79 mg1.7%
Protein 3.3 g6.6%
Total Fat 25.7 g32.9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

How do you prepare branzino fish for a branzino marine?

Place the branzino onto a chopping board and pat the fish dry with a kitchen towel. Begin with a pair of scissors and cut off the spiked fins on the back and sides of the fish. Lay the fish flat on its side on the chopping board, with a sharp flexible knife make an incision along the length of the spine.

Slice the knife in long, smooth motions between the spine and the flesh to detach the upper fillet. Then flip the branzino and repeat the process using the same motion to remove the second fillet.

Place the two fillets of fish flesh-side up on the chopping board and use a pair of tweezers to remove the bones. Rinse the fillets under cold water to remove any blood from the fish then pat dry.

To remove the skin from the fish, lay the fillet flesh-side up on a chopping board and make a small angled incision at the tail of the fish through the meat to the skin. Hold the knife at a pressured angle and pull the skin towards you, the knife will be naturally guided and slide down to remove the skin. The branzino fillets are then ready to be thinly sliced and prepared for branzino marine.

What is levrek?

Levrek is the Turkish name for Mediterranean sea bass while branzino is the Italian translation. Branzino can be found in abundance through Istanbul as Turkey is surrounded by four seas which provide a high quality source of seafood. When preparing levrek marin source the best quality fish available as this is the star ingredient which makes all the difference to the simple recipe.

Fish farms have been established to keep up with the demand, Turkey and Greece produce 85% of the farmed production of sea bass in the world. Wild sea bass has far more flavour than farmed as they eat a natural diet providing high nutritional properties and better flavour.

Is branzino healthy?

The marinating process of branzino marine maintains the healthy properties of the fish whilst also being delicious. Branzino is a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals including magnesium, potassium, selenium and vitamin B6.

As a white fish branzino contains lower levels of fat than oily fish whilst also providing omega-3 fatty acids which helps to maintain heart health, promote brain health and lower blood pressure.

What does branzino marine taste like?

The marinated strips of fish take on the refreshing vibrancy of the citrus juices which is perfectly paired with the heat from the mustard.

Each bite is bursting with flavour, balanced between pungent onions, a mild spice of the peppercorns, richness of olive oil and acid from the lemon and vinegar. The texture of the sea bass is extremely juicy with a subtle firmness as the acidity of the ingredients partially cooks the fish and tenderises the meat.

What can be used to marinade fish?

Branzino marine imparts additional layers of flavour into the fish through marinating. The longer the marinade the stronger the flavour and the firmer the flesh. Branzino marine follows the same process as South America ‘ceviche’, also referred to as cebiche, seviche or sebiche.

The South America technique of marinating fish generally uses aji and chilli to spice the fish, marinating for approximately 30 minutes. In comparison the Turkish technique provides spice through mustard and marinades for up to 12 hours.

Any form of acid will work as a marinade, strongly affecting the final flavour of the dish, sources of acid include orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, wine or even milk.

What should be served with branzino marine?

Branzino marine is a classic seafood appetizer served as a part of a meze platter, The dish is served cold allowing the feast to go on for hours alongside a variety of complimentary Turkish starters such as; tomato and walnut salad, deep fried olives, flatbread and baba ganoush.

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