Branzino Fillets (European Sea Bass) Is Now On Trader Joe’s

Branzino fillets

Have you recently been hearing about a “Branzino fillet” but are not sure whether to give it a try? Let us have a look into this night-hunting fish hugely popular in Italian cuisine.

What is a Branzino Fish?

A branzino fish is a mild white ocean fish that goes by many names, in some regions, it is called Loup de Mer or Capemouth while in others it is known as sea perch or king of the mullets.

In recent years, fisheries across the native regions have taken to farm-raising Branzino to help prevent overfishing. Branzino or European Bass is one of six species from the family Moronidae, which also includes white perch, yellow bass, white bass, and striped bass.

 Some of these fish live in freshwater, others in the Atlantic Ocean, and one species migrates between the two. Branzino travels south for the winter into warmer waters since it is a migratory species. Outside its native Mediterranean Sea, this flaky, sweet fish can be found in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean from Norway to Senegal, as well as the Black Sea. Also farmed in various regions around the world, including New England.

What Does Branzino Taste Like?

Branzino a.k.a European Sea Bass is a white fish that is both flaky and tender. It is usually preferred over other fillets because apart from having a sweet taste it is also light. When cooked, the flaky meat turns snow white and breaks into small chunks. A great fish to eat and cook whole by grilling, steaming, or baking! Traditionally this fish is prepared whole (including the skin). 

As it usually grows up to three pounds, Branzino weighing closer to one or two pounds is more commonly found— making it a perfect dish for two. Since Branzino does not have large bones it is indeed a great fish to use in your casseroles, stews, pasta, and other one-pot meals. 

Cooking it is straightforward. Here’s how you cook Branzino fish.

  • Step 1: Thaw the Fillets
  • Step 2: Drizzle with olive/ vegetable oil
  • Step 3: Top with fresh lemon wheels & herbs (if baking)
  • Step 4: Grill, pan fry, or bake
  • Step 5: Serve your guests one juicy bite after another!

If baking, you can stuff the cavity with fresh herbs along with tons of lemon juice and let it bake at 325F for about 25 minutes, then let it rest for another 5 minutes before serving on a platter garnished with more citrus slices and fresh herbs.

Easy, right?

If steaming then don’t forget to season the fish with plenty of freshly squeezed lemon juice and herbs or give a dry rub. Cooked fish can also be flaked into a dish before serving. 

Enjoy with a side of salad or grilled vegetables and a nice, chilled glass of your favorite wine. 

Where to buy Branzino Fillet?

Now you can get Branzino Fillet at Trader Joe’s( 16 Oz) at just $9.99. Why Trader Joe’s, you ask? The company assures that their products are farm-raised in Turkey (a method that helps prevent overfishing), then deboned, filleted, and frozen for our ease. 

Sad to say but in recent years it has become harder to find Branzino due to overfishing. Frozen branzino is also a rarity. Many local fish shops usually carry the whole Branzino that can also be found under the name of European bass. You can also see it in larger groceries that sell fresh fish or buy wild-caught branzino. 

Unlike Sea bass or Halibut, Branzino is relatively lighter and flakier as well and has a mild sweetness to it.

Branzino Calorie Information

1 Fillet available at Trader Joe’s amounts to about 113g. Calories per serving are about 110. Refer to the following table for more details. 

Total Fat2.5 g3%
Saturated Fat0.5 g3%
Trans Fat0 g
Cholesterol45 mg15%
Sodium75 mg3%
Total Carbohydrate0 g0%
Dietary Fiber0 g0%
Total Sugars0 g
Includes0 g Added Sugars0%
Protein21 g
Vitamin D6.3 mcg30%
Calcium10 mg0%
Iron0.3 mg2%
Potassium290 mg6%

How To Store Branzino

Martha Stewart, the author of several highly praised cookbooks suggests storing filleted fish in sealable plastic bags. Her advice is to squeeze out as much air as possible from these bags before you seal them.

To begin with, place chunks of flaked ice at the bottom of a colander and place the fish on top of this. You may now cover the fish with more ice and then stock this set directly into the freezer.

You may need to restock the colander with ice once a day.

If flaked ice is not an option, you can also use ice cubes and water. Place the fish in a sealed bag and then immerse it in a bowl of ice cubes.

It may not be a good idea to store fish directly on to ice without a sealed bag.

All fish can be refrigerated for up to two days, or frozen in a tightly wrapped plastic bag to retain maximum freshness. Don’t forget to bring the fish out a few hours before you start cooking so that it has time to defrost, or let it thaw in the fridge overnight.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, try your own version of a Branzino Fillet today and let us know if it is worth the hype.


Anand Srinivasan
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