Hotel Ristorante Il Porticciolo's Branzino With Leek and Clam Broth With Lime

Chef Riccardo's recipe tantalizes the senses with aromatics and delicate flavor. Branzino is a European sea bass with a sweet and mild taste.

Servings: 2

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Pair With: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Prosecco.

Source: Recipe and photo courtesy Chef Riccardo Bassetti of Hotel Ristorante Il Porticciolo in Italy.


Ingredients For the Clam Juice
1 pint live clams
approximately 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
approximately one bottle good white wine
4 tablespoons butter

Ingredients For the Branzino
2 Branzino fillets
1 lime, juice and zest
2 small leeks
1 cup clam juice (recipe above)
herb garnish: argula, green onion, chervil or dill
extra virgin olive oil for garnish


Directions For the Clam Juice
Clean the outside of the clams with a stiff brush and water and discard any that have opened. Coat the bottom of a large, deep pan with oil and turn the heat to medium low. Cut each clove of garlic in half and add to the pan, cook for a couple of minutes until browned. Add the clams, then cover them with the white wine. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook until the clams open.

When ready to use the clam juice, strain off one cup and pour into a small pot. Heat over low and add the butter, lime and zest. Stir until butter is melted and well mixed. Divide between two plates with raised rims, before plating the fish. Serve the clams as a side dish or save for future use.

Directions For the Branzino
Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil to cook the leeks until tender. At the same time, heat a steamer pot to steam the branzino--this should take about 12 minutes.

Place a cooked leek and branzino on each plate over the clam juice and garnish with aromatic herbs. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over the top.

Chef's Notes:

Read the blog post about Chef Riccaro Bassetti and Italy's Hotel Ristorante Il Porticciolo.