BRANZINO MARCO POLO
Somewhere along the line everyone agreed on some sweeping generalizations about recipe monikers. If it's "Florentine" expect spinach in there somewhere; "à la Grecque" gets you olive oil, lemon, oregano and probably olives. "Hawaiian" and "Polynesian" are the big yellow warning signs for pineapple. Why bland spinach is the standard bearer for a region that could easily claim rosemary or basil as their global ambassador is a bit of a mystery. The last two are easy enough to understand.
"Asian Fusion" and its spawn "Pacific Rim" have gotten too big for their britches. There's no reliable flavor combination –conceptually, I get it: kimchi tacos, Dover sole with lemon grass and cilantro. They can be any helter skelter mash up that's got an east-meets-west vibe.
Spectacularly Delicious is casting its lot with "Marco Polo." As in this recipe for branzino, anything "Marco Polo" should build off a classic Italian base with a benediction from the Asian Holy Trinity: garlic, ginger, soy. Sure, a couple of other flavor infusions will probably be included, most likely some combination of fish sauce, curry and/or cilantro. But under the Marco Polo big top it's a circus performers who are all the result of an arranged marriage of Italian and Chinese.
And yet rules were meant to be broken. So this recipe for Branzino Marco Polo employs the milder shallot and scallions instead of garlic. It's a tiny infraction as far as culinary crimes go.
No matter then. Branzino Marco Polo is a great excuse to bust out your fish poacher. If you don't have one of these, don't worry, you just haven't met the right yard sale yet. Or you can buy a fish poacher with a simple click now. Or rig up some other apparatus to cook the fish. Branzino's superior flavor will stand up to this powerful Marco Polo treatment baked, broiled or fried.
Click here for the recipe for Branzino Marco Polo.