Is there a difference between branzino and lup de mer?

  • Posted by: brandon
  • March 4, 2011


pierino March 4, 2011
Greenstuff, I'll forgive the author for having written it 2005. Even though farm raised "branzino" was already being farmed in California. I feel obliged to add though that if San Franciscans were half as sophisticated as they pretend to be they'd have a real newspaper. It's hard to think of one that is less reliable unless maybe it's the Santa Barbara paper. But the nomenclature is all fast and loose in the restaurant world. Taxonomy is not something customers care about.
Greenstuff March 4, 2011
I've seen that Seafood Watch report, but didn't realize that U.S. farmed hybrid, M. saxatilis x M. chrysops, which is also marketed as striped bass, was being sold as branzino. The European species, Dicentrarchus labrax, is also farmed (don't know if it's a hybrid), imported, and sold in the States. Here's an article from the San Francisco Chronicle . I warn you though, she also needed an edit key, as she mis-spelled the name of the fish.
pierino March 4, 2011
Here's what Seafood Watch has to say:

I grew up on the East Coast so I'm familiar with "striper". But what's sold in markets as "branzino" is the farm raised variety. Keep in mind that Australian slime fish was rechristened orange roughy and it just about wiped out the fishery. Same with Chilean sea bass, which isn't even a bass (formerly known as toothfish).
Greenstuff March 4, 2011
Drat, once more I need the edit key. In case you're going looking, it's Morone saxatilis, not whatever I wrote up there.
Greenstuff March 4, 2011
healthier kitchen, you are right on that one. In Maryland and the rest of the mid-Atlantic, within the native home range of the striped bass, Morone saxatils, they call it rockfish. It's also native in New England, where they call it striped bass. And it was introduced to California. Confusing? You betcha! That's why we have the Latin names. Of course, we fight over them too.
Greenstuff March 4, 2011
Do you have a reference for that pierino? I knew that branzino/loup de mer/European seabass (the real one from Europe, both wild and cultured) was very much like the striped bass-white bass hybrid (both of those parents being American species), but I wasn't aware that we'd taken to mixing the names. I guess it shouldn't surprise me--the West Coast of the US is famous for reusing names of famous fishes.
healthierkitchen March 4, 2011
Oddly, I've been told that our local maryland rockfish is the same as striped bass.
pierino March 4, 2011
The name changes that go on in marketing fish would drive Linnaeus nuts. Farm raised "branzino" is actually a hybridized fish which Seafood Watch includes in their "best choices". It's an excellent example of sustainable aquaculture. Fish are raised in inland tanks. Sometimes it's sold as striped bass. Farm raised salmon in contrast should be avoided altogether.
aargersi March 4, 2011
For some reason my fish market flips and flops as to what they call it ... maybe it's the farm raised vs wild thing?
pierino March 4, 2011
And most of the branzino sold here is farm raised.
Merrill S. March 4, 2011
They're the same fish: one is the Italian name, and the other the French.
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