It took me a long time to tackle cooking a whole fish. Part of me thought it might be best to have a drink during my first attempt at it, just to temper my trepidation. Nothing too crazy. Just a glass of white wine, because that is the usual suspect that goes along with most fish dishes. Something light and fruity like a Pinot Grigio. Or if the fish is a little on the fatty side, a nice oaky Chardonnay or even a light Pinot Noir.
Since my first whole roasted fish, I’ve grown both comfortable and a bit ambitious in figuring out how to treat this elegant protein. So much so, I thought it might be a good idea to get it drunk. Really drunk. Like we-in-Mexico-about-to-forget-our-last-names drunk. For a 1-pound creature, feeding it a 1/4 cup of tequila will do that.
This recipe for Tequila Teriyaki Roasted Branzino is every bit as fun as it sounds, and so much of it stems from the marinade that doubles as a finishing drizzle for the fish as you eat it. The fusion flavors breathe new life into this Asian-style flavor profile, thanks in large part to the tequila that both you and the fish should enjoy while putting together this dish!
Tequila Teriyaki Roasted Branzino
(recipe serving size: 2 whole fish)
For the marinade:
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup teriyaki
1/4 cup tequila
1 tsp dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lime
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
10 mint leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Combine the ingredients in a food processor and blend until fully incorporated. Place in a jar and set in the refrigerator until ready for use.
For the fish:
2 whole branzino, deboned with the scales removed (roughly 1 lb each)
Tequila Teriyaki Marinade
1-2 tb olive oil
Cut three slits into the flesh of the fish on each side and cover with 1/2 cup of the marinade, making sure the marinade covers all of the fish. Marinate for 2 hours, turning the fish over halfway through the marinating process.
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees (or as close to 500 without going over).
Remove the fish from the marinade. Discard what is left of the marinade that the fish has touched. Pat the fish dry and place the fish on a non-stick baking sheet with the open side facing downward. Brush each side of both fish with the olive oil and roast on the center rack for 20 minutes. Turn the oven to broil. Brush the fish with the drippings accumulated in the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Baste one more time halfway through the broiling process.
Bringing it all together:
Gently remove the fish from the baking sheet and place on a platter. Serve the fish while warm alongside the remaining marinade and enjoy!