Market Name: Sea bass
Scientific Name: Dicentrarchus labrax
Common Name: European sea bass, Mediterranean sea bass, branzino, bar, loup de mer
Flavor: Mild/Moderate
Texture: Delicate/Medium

Sea bass, often marketed by U.S. chefs under the Italian name branzino, is a prized fish in Europe, where it is largely a recreational catch. Small commercial fisheries exist in the Mediterranean. The gear used to catch these bass includes beach and purse seines, trawl nets, trammel nets, longlines and rod and line. Commercial catches are sold fresh, mainly to local markets. This sea bass, which reaches a maximum size of around 32 inches, is found in the Atlantic along the European coasts, in the Mediterranean and as far south as Senegal. Limited wild harvests and a high price made U.S. imports unfeasible until farmed supplies from Norway and Greece began appearing in the American market. Demand today is met almost exclusively by aquacultured product. The bass’s ability to thrive in seawater, brackish water and even fresh water makes it a good candidate for farming. Though now classified as Dicentrarchus labrax, branzino has also gone by the scientific name Morone labrax.

Product Profile:
European sea bass meat is pinkish when raw and cooks up opaque white. The finely textured, flaky meat is lean, with a sweet and mild flavor. Many chefs say the wild-caught bass is more flavorful than the farmed product.

You Should Know:
The French name for European sea bass is loup de mer, meaning sea wolf; don’t confuse it with North Atlantic wolffish.

Cooking Tips:
Since branzino has a relatively low fat content, it is best steamed, baked or sautéed, as these preparations let the delicate flavor come through. Mediterranean cooks grill branzino, but this is tricky as the flesh can dry out easily.

Cooking Methods: Bake,Fry,Saute',Steam

Substitutions: Black sea bass, Perch, Whitefish

Primary Product Forms:
Fresh: Whole (most common), Gutted, Fillets

Global Supply: