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Crispy Branzino with Caper-Olive Sauce

A delicate, sweet crispy fish served over a bed of sauteed cherry tomatoes in a caper and olive sauce. With a prep time of less than 30 minutes, the meal is perfect for a weeknight - especially for those going to karate class after work like me, or perhaps hitting the gym..
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Servings: 2 people


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 branzino fillets, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • ½ cup pitted olives, halved
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
  • ½ teaspoon salt more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped


  • Rinse the branzino fillets. Dry them very carefully with paper towels, pressing firmly to remove any moisture. Score the skin side of each filet 2-3 times using thin, diagonal strokes. Sprinkle the skin side of the branzino with salt.
  • Heat a large, non-stick skillet on medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough - place the branzino on the skillet, skin side facing down. Sprinkle the side facing up with salt. Allow the fish to cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the skin is crisp and slightly brown. Flip the fish on the other side, laying the fish away from you to avoid oil splatters. Cook for about 1-2 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan.
  • Immediately, add the butter, capers, olives, salt and tomatoes to the pan. Add the wine and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the alcohol has evaporated. The sauce should taste a little salty. Add the fish and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately, pouring the sauce over the fish.

Wine Pairing

  • Mild flavored fish like branzino, pair best with crisp, dry Loire valley Sauvignon blanc, champagne and Portuguese whites.


The branzino skin will not crisp unless the fillet is extremely dry. The skillet oil needs to be hot enough so that the fish sizzles - if not the oil will merely be absorbed into the fish.  To test - carefully place part of the fish on the hot oil - if it does not sizzle , remove from the oil and wait for the oil to get hotter.