Branzino over Roasted Parsnips & Quinoa with Chardonnay Foam Sauce, Lemon Ash

This third course took a long time to develop, like all the components tying together. I originally wanted to do some kind of a purée and have the fish rest on top of that but then I realized that I don’t have a starch dish for my 5-course dinner. I wanted to make farro again but Whole Foods was out of that, like completely empty in the bulk section!! I was then torn between couscous, rice pilaf, and quinoa. I opted for quinoa.

Serves 2.


[100% organic]

For the Lemon Ash

  • 1 lemon, sliced and seeds removed

In the oven, incinerate one lemon at 500°F or under a broiler. Once cool, blend in a blender and pass through a fine strainer. Place in an airtight container and set aside.

For the Wine Foam

  • Half a bottle of Chardonnay
  • Aromatics – whole black peppercorns, parsley stems, tarragon sprigs, garlic, bay leaves, thyme sprigs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup cream
  • Salt

The white wine used in this reduction should complement the fish. In a pan, reduce wine with aromatics until almost dry. Add in milk and cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer and infuse for 15 minutes. Strain and season.

Before serving, using an immersion blender, foam up sauce.

For the Parsnips

  • 4 thin parsnips
  • Olive oil
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Salt

Preheat oven at 400°F. Peel parsnips and cut into obliques. Place parsnips in a baking pan and season with olive oil, thyme sprigs, and salt. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes then unwrapped for another 10 minutes. When tender, set aside to cool.

For the Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 onions
  • Parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • Bouquet garni
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

The chicken stock sold in stores are usually lacking flavor so go ahead and make a reinforced chicken stock. Sweat one onion, thinly sliced, in a saucepan. Then add in chopped celery and carrots. Once a little caramelized, add in chicken stock and bouquet garni. Reduce by more than half, then strain and continue to reduce. Reduce until you have a little less than one cup.

Cook quinoa with two cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with lid, and simmer until the grains are translucent and the germ has spiraled out from each grain, about 15 minutes. Once cooked, cool on a tray.

In a large pan, sweat the other onion, small dice, and then add in parsnips, quinoa, and reduced reinforced chicken stock. Heat through, adjust seasoning, add in chopped parsley, and keep warm.

For the Branzino

  • 4 branzino fillets, with skin
  • Butter
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season fish with salt and pepper. In a hot pan, coat the bottom with canola oil. Place fish fillets skin-side down and turn heat down to low. Add in a cube of butter and thyme sprigs. Wait until butter is bubbly, then baste flesh-side of the fish with a spoon. Once fish is white, not pink, turn off heat and quickly flip each fillet over and cook flesh-side for 3-seconds. Remove from pan and place on a wire-rack.


Spoon quinoa parsnip mixture onto a plate, place branzino fillet on top. Spoon wine foam over fish and sprinkle with lemon ash.


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