Braised Sea Bass with Peppers and Olives
Branzino di Pantelleria in Umido
Yield: 6 generous servings
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large covered skillet over medium high heat until it is almost smoking. Pat the fish fillets dry and season with salt and pepper. Sear the fish, without jostling for 3-4 minutes, or until a nice brown crust forms. Flip fillets and brown the other side, about 3 minutes. Remove the bass onto a plate and keep warm while preparing the sauce.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining olive oil in the same pan in which you cooked the fish. Sauté the onion, garlic, red and yellow peppers, olives, capers, parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables soften. Pour in the wine, stirring well to dislodge the brown bits at the bottom of the pan, and reduce by one half, 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, clam juice and the lemon juice. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes to thicken slightly and strengthen the flavors.
Return the fish fillets to the pan with the sauce. Cover and braise gently over low heat until the fish is tender and opaque throughout, about 8 minutes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and chopped parsley before serving.
If the pan you have is not big enough to hold the sauce and all the fish fillets, simply pour the sauce in a large baking pan, place the fillets on top and cook for 6-8 minutes in a 325 preheated oven.