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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Pomegranate and Fennel Branzino

by Giada De Laurentiis
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Pomegranate and Fennel Branzino

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This dinner for two is light, sumptuous and decadent all at once - perfect for a date night or occasion dinner! The buttery branzino is perfect with the silky potato-fennel puree, and the fresh salad gives it a pop of brightness.

Branzino is my number one choice for this meal, but you can really use any flaky white fish - snapper, cod, or even tilapia, for example.

Pomegranate and Fennel Branzino


Pomegranate and Fennel Branzino

Rated 5.0 stars by 1 users



Prep Time

30 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Pomegranate and Fennel Branzino


    For The Puree:

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed and diced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 (3 inch) parmesan rind
  • 3 strips of lemon zest
  • 1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • For The Salad:

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon rosé or champagne vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly shaved
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • For The Fish:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 branzino filets, from 2 (1 1/4 pound) fish
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. For the puree, in a medium saucepan combine the fennel, heavy cream, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, parmesan rind, lemon zest, potatoes, olive oil and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium heat. Cook until the fennel and potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Remove and discard the parmesan rind and the lemon zest. Add the vegetables, half of the cooking liquid and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to a blender and blend, scraping down the sides as needed, until very smooth, about 1 minute. Add more liquid if the mixture is too thick. It should be light and smooth and easily spread on a plate.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the Dijon mustard, champagne vinegar, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth and creamy. Remove half of the dressing to a small bowl. Soak the fennel, parsley and tarragon in cold water to clean and crisp up. Drain well and spin in a salad spinner or dry well on a clean kitchen towel.  Add the fennel mixture and the pomegranate seeds to the remaining dressing. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and toss gently to coat.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Score the skin of the branzino making 3 slashes across each filet. Dry the fish well and season evenly with the salt. Add the oil to the hot pan and heat an additional 30 seconds. Carefully add the fish to the hot pan, skin side down and press gently with the back of a spatula to make sure all of the skin is touching the pan. Cook, undisturbed until the edges of the fish start to look cooked and lightly golden and the filets release easily from the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. This can be done in batches if necessary. Using an offset spatula or fish spatula, flip each filet and cook, flesh side down, until just cooked through, about 15 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Spoon 1/2 cup of fennel puree on each of 2 plates. Using the back of a spoon, spread the puree into a circle. Place 2 fish filets on each round, slightly off center, shingling them with the skin sides out. Place a small gathering of the salad next to and slightly overlapping the filets. Drizzle with some of the reserved dressing. Sprinkle with more pomegranate seeds for garnish if desired.



Nutrition Serving Size
per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
82 grams
67 grams
87 grams
Saturated Fat
36 grams
250 milligrams
2492 milligrams
18 grams
32 grams
Trans Fat
1 grams
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