Whole Fried Branzino with Chef Samir Mogannam
Updated: May 11
We want to feature a chef who should definitely be celebrated for his absolutely delicious contributions to the SF food scene. He’s Samir Mogannam of Beit Rima! Let's jump in and see his whole fried Branzino dish.
Get your knives and marinades ready, because here goes!
A sharp knife
Deep-Fryer/ Cast-Iron Pan/ Dutch Oven
Wooden Kitchen tool
Branzino (From Four Star Seafood, of course!)
For the marinade:
For the Frying:
For the salad:
Parsley dressed with Meyer lemon juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
To make this dish, you’ll need to start with the basics by scaling and rinsing the Branzino. This can be done with a scaler or the back of a knife.
From there, you’ll want to score it down the fillet about every 3 inches to ensure even cooking.
Score it along the top of each side of the spine to allow the fillets to fall off the bone with the pry of a fork.
We then marinate with a paste made of spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric and smoked paprika), garlic, oil and lemon juice.
After that, it’s a dredge with semolina. Shake off any excess.
Step 6: Fry for 4 to 5 minutes in a deep fryer. The oil should be 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn to brown on all sides.
This can also be done in a cast-iron pan or a dutch oven. Add one-inch depth of vegetable oil and heat to 350 degrees. The oil should be hot (not smoking) when the fish goes into the pan. To test the correct temperature, take any wooden kitchen tool and place it in the oil until it bubbles. Lay the fish in the pan. When frying multiple fish at one, make sure the fish are all spaced an inch and half apart. Cook 5 minutes on each side. The surface should be crisp and brown. Separate the skin near the backbone to check if the flesh is opaque rather than translucent. If it is opaque, the fish is done!
Chef trick: Turn the fish between two spatulas to avoid breaking the crust.
Step 7: Remove the fish from the pan and set onto a metal rack to drain.
Step 8: We then serve it with a salad of green/red onions and torn cilantro, mint and parsley dressed with Meyer lemon juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
ABOUT CHEF SAMIR MOGANNAM
Samir grew up in a family of food people and touts early cherished memories of eating incredible Arabic food with his family for his passion today. With food in his blood, he’s spent the last 10 years working in professional kitchens all over SF, including Mr. Pollo, Prubechu, Aziza, Tawla (Sous Chef) and Dyafa (Chef de Cuisine).
At 29, and craving the chance to take his collective experiences and love for Arabic food and open his own spot, he took over his Dad’s Burgermeister location on Church St. on November 4th, 2018 and re-opened it as Beit Rima on Feb 1st, 2019. After rave reviews from critics Peter Kane (SF Weekly) and Soleil Ho (SF Chronicle), Beit Rima was named Best New Restaurant by SF Weekly and put on the 2019 Top 100 Restaurant List by SF Chronicle.
With the success of the Church St. location, he’s continuing his Arabic comfort food mission with locations in Cole Valley and Daly City and we couldn’t be more excited for him.
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