Deep Dive FAQ: Branzino


What kind of fish is branzino?

Known as "branzino" in Italian, and "suzuki" in sushi, Mediterranean or European seabass (Disentrarchus labrax) is a round, non-oily, warm-to-temperate water fish found predominantly in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Branzino is a different species than the popular recreational fish Striped American seabass (Morone saxatilis), found in the Eastern United States. Both are altogether different than Chilean sea bass, which is really a fancy name for the Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) a highly oily cold water fish native to Antarctic waters of Southern Chile and Argentina.

Is branzino farm raised?

More than likely! The vast majority of commercial branzino is farm raised. Wild populations exist, but much like commercial catfish, rainbow trout, cow, pig, or chicken, it’s mostly available to consumers as farm-raised. Commercial farming of sea bass has become very established along Mediterranean coasts to meet an increasing US demand, which has put pressure on habitat and raised concerns over environmental impacts in a concentrated seascape like the Mediterranean. On the bright side, branzino is now being raised in the US in indoor recirculating systems like Ideal Fish in Connecticut. Sourcing your branzino from companies like Ideal Fish supports forward thinking strategies for the planet and represents today’s farmed fish.

Is branzino sustainable?

It can be! Monterey Bay Seafood Watch confirms that branzino raised in indoor recirculating systems (RAS), such as Connecticut-based Ideal Fish (read our interview with them here), are a good or best choice while their 2020 report on marine net pen operations set up along the Mediterranean coastline present uncertainty and concern over habitat displacement, antibiotics and chemicals usage, and waste discharge. Sourcing your branzino from companies like Ideal Fish supports forward thinking strategies for the planet and represents today’s farmed fish.

Is branzino a freshwater fish?

Nope! Branzino is a saltwater fish. As such, it is naturally rich in minerals including selenium, iodine, calcium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. It has a sweet flavor profile with a delicate flake and low oil content. Delish!

What are the health and nutrition benefits of branzino?

Tons! Being lower in oil content, branzino is one of lower calorie fishes (a 3oz serving holds around 90 calories) while boasting a powerhouse of essential fatty acids, protein, minerals and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, E, D, and B-complex. Its lean, white meat boasts a good amino-acids profile as well as a good source of poly-unsaturated fatty acids. The FDA recommendation is consumption of eat 2-3 servings a week for European sea bass, and is categorized under the "best choice" section regarding mercury levels. Lastly, branzino is a naturally rich source of minerals including selenium, iodine, calcium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. 

How do I cook whole branzino?

Easy! Averaging one to three pounds, whole branzino is perfect for a single plate, a meal for two, or featured as part of a larger feast. Simply follow our super simple recipe for cooking a whole trout but with your branzino. Review this quick tutorial when you're ready to carve that bad boy, and enjoy!