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Branzino by Mei Lin

Branzino by Mei Lin

Chef Mei Lin is the chef/owner of Nightshade restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, where she showcases an elegant elevation of classic Asian dishes.

Lin was picked by Hugh Acheson as one of 100 emerging chefs around the world in the Phaidon publication, Today's Special, where her flavours are described as "both technically flawless in their balance and unapologetically bold. Expressions of umami, heat, acid, and earth are omnipresent on her border-blurring menu".


22 March, 2021
Average: 4 (5 votes)

serves for



For the Branzino
One sea bass (Branzino) butterflied
For the Sichuan chili paste:
Chili crisp
160 g chili crisp (pulp from our housemade chili oil)
Green peppercorns
2 g, toasted
Red peppercorns
2 g, toasted
Brown sugar
5 g
Black garlic
30 g black garlic cloves
Black vinegar
50 g
For the chive ginger sauce:
310 gm fresh ginger
290 g chives
Cooking oil
170 g oil
10 g
For the bone broth:
500 g
1 kg
Fish bones
2 kg reserved fish bones
200 g ginger, smashed
75 g garlic, smashed
Spring onion
100 g scallions (spring onions)
Light soy sauce
200 g
50 g
For the garnish
Scallion grass
Lettuce cups

As featured in Today's SpecialMei Lin's unique style of cooking presents a punchy and exciting sea bass dish, available here in her step-by-step recipe.

Mei Lin

Note: To butterfly a fish, start by freeing the ends of the backbone from the fish’s body. Use kitchen shears to snip the backbone right behind the head and right in front of the tail. Use the knife to free the backbone from the meat. Be careful not to slice all the way up to the top of the fish and through the skin.

Step 01

Make the Sichuan chili paste:

In a blender, blend everything until smooth. Make the chive ginger sauce: puree all ingredients in a high-powered blender. Transfer to a saucepan and cook until green.  

Step 02

Make the bone broth:

Add the sake and mirin to a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Flambé to burn off all the alcohol. Once the flame has subsided, add the fish bones, ginger, garlic, scallions and soy sauce, and simmer for 30 minutes until the liquid has reduced. Stir in the bonito then strain and cool the broth.


Step 03

Cook the branzino fish:

Pat the skin dry on each fillet with paper towels (this will help keep the fish from sticking). Season the flesh side with kosher salt. Place a 12-inch (30 cm) nonstick pan on medium heat and add a bit of grapeseed oil to the pan once it's heated. Add in the branzino.  

Step 04

Once the fish is halfway cooked, spread the left fillet with 1⁄4 cup of Szechuan chilli paste, making sure to coat the entire surface. Repeat process with the right fillet using chive ginger sauce this time. Carefully with a wide spatula, take the fish out of the pan and place flesh side up on a platter.

Garnish with herbs and radishes. Serve with bibb lettuce and bone broth on the side.

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