These days our travels have been centered more and more around Italy and the Mediterranean in general.  In the summer months something light always appears table side as we break bread with those who craft our lovely shirts.  It’s hard to escape Branzino in the region and it’s one of those fish best left in it’s simplest form.  Digging in to that wonderful flakiness and the crisp crunch of a salty skin brings to mind white washed walls, a waitress named Paola, bottles of a nice white Bordeaux (Chateau Haut-Brion please), and an evening stroll around Ponza.  Here’s our riff on this harbor side classic:



2 6-oz fillets branzino or black bass

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Kosher salt




1.  Pat Dry

Trying to cook wet fish is a cardinal sin.  You’ll never get good results and have will be left crusted to your cook surface. About an hour before cooking pat the filets dry, and put them on a plate skin side up. Do Not season at this point, just chuck them uncovered in the fridge.

2. Smoke It Up

Grab a large stainless steel skillet and get it scorching hot (a flick of water should bead and sizzle instantly).  2 minutes over high heat should do the trick. Pour in 1 Tbsp oil and add a big pinch of salt. There will be smoke. Once the skillet is smoking remove from heat and take a handful of paper towels and rub the oil and salt around and out of the pan completely.

3. Fish Time

Put your now wonderfully seasoned skillet back on high heat and take those lovely dry fillets out of the fridge. Add another 1 Tbsp oil to the pan and throw a decent amount of salt on both sides of the fillets. Once the oil is shimmering in a wonderful manner gently place the fillets skin side down.  Watch for oil spatters.  You wouldn’t want to ruin that perfect shirt.

4. A Firm Hand Is Required

Use a fish spatula (or a regular one and just keep a lighter touch) and apply firm, even pressure to the fillets until they relax and lie flat. Press down each fillet until the flesh is nearly opaque and cooked through, with just a bit of pink on top.

5. Flip Once

Slide your spatula under each filet and using your other hand for a guide- turn it away from you.  Remove the pan from heat.  At this point you are just letting the raw side kiss the skillet to finish up.  Should take no more than a minute.




This is such a subtle dish and is really best left unadorned.  We recommend a simple olive vinaigrette served under the fish (don’t screw up that crispy skin by putting on top)



  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives, crushed
  • ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Whisk shallot, green and Kalamata olives, basil, oil, and vinegar in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.

If not serving right away leave the Basil out until the last minute. Otherwise it will oxidize and not be quite as lovely