Close this search box.

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian Shares His Favorite Recipes From The National

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian has shared with Serendipity his top places to eat, drink and shop in Fairfield County. Zakarian and his wife Margaret sat down to talk about their successes and grand return to Greenwich with the opening of their popular restaurant The National. And now Zakarian is sharing some of his favorite recipes straight off the menu at The National for the most important courses—entree, dessert and cocktails!

Whole Roasted Mediterranean Branzino with Marble Potatoes, Fennel & ‘Nduja Vinaigrette


For the Branzino

4 branzino

2 thinly sliced lemons

8 parsley sprigs

Butchers twine

When purchasing, have your fish monger pin bone the fish while leaving the heads and tails intact.

Thinly slice the lemons  and place 3 slices and 2 sprigs of parley in the cavity of each fish.

Tie the fish twice once 1/3 third of the length from the tail, the other 1/3 of the length from the head.

Reserve in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.

For the Marble Potatoes

1 pound mixed marble potatoes

8 cups water

1 lemon, cut in half

8 sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

1 head garlic, cut in half

1/8 cups kosher salt

Place ingredients in a medium size pot and bring to a boil.

Once at a boil turn down to a simmer and cook until fork tender.

For the Shallot Confit

5 shallots, cut in half

3 tablespoons olive oil

kosher salt

fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the shallots in half through the root, leaving the skins on.  Two half sheet trays with parchment paper with olive oil, salt and pepper on the surface.  Place the shallots cut side down.

Roast the shallots for 20-30 minutes or until completely soft and tender.  Cool and reserve for service.

For the braided fennel

1 head of fennel

1 star anise

¼ cup olive oil

1 sprig of thyme

1 clove garlic

2 cups water

1 tablespoon salt

Aluminum foil

Cut the fennel into a piece 8 pieces from top to bottom ensuring that each piece has a little bit of the core so that the pieces remain intact.

Place Fennel in a medium size pan adding enough water to cover the fennel,

Add remaining ingredients and cover with foil.

Cook over low heat on the stove checking every couple of minutes until the fennel is tender the fibers have broken down.

For the Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup  ‘Nduja, chopped

2 tablespoons shallots, chopped

1 tablespoons capers, chopped

40 millileters sherry vinegar

¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped

Combine Oil and ‘Nduja in a pot and cook until fat is rendered

Add shallots and cook until tender, add capers and sherry vinegar

Once cooled add chopped parsley.

To assemble the dish:

Season Branzino with canola oil salt and pepper and grill over a hot grill ensuring not to touch it for 3 to 4 minute so that pronounced grill marks develop. Flip and repeat the process until fish is cooked.

While the fish cooks add 2 tablespoons of canola oil to a hot pan and roast the fennel and potatoes making sure to season with salt and pepper. They should have a touch of color.

To assemble the dish remove the butchers twine and discard the lemon slices and parsley sprigs.

Place the grilled fish on a platter with roasted fennel, potatoes, confit shallots and finish with the ‘Nduja Vinaigrette.

Garnish with a watercress season with balsamic and olive oil.

The National Sundae


3 brownie pieces

1 cup Luxardo cherries

3 scoops malted vanilla ice cream

2 scoops peppermint ice cream

1 caramelized banana, sliced in half

1 large scoop Chantilly [cream]

1 cup granola

3 strawberries, quartered

8 pieces dried meringues

Chocolate sauce, as needed

In a large bowl, place 3 squares of brownie (2 inches by 2 inches) on the bottom. Drizzle Luxardo cherries and their syrup on top of the brownies.

Place two large scoops of malted vanilla ice cream and one large scoop of peppermint ice cream on top of the brownies. Lay the two halves of caramelized banana on top of the ice cream, flat side up. Scoop one large scoop of peppermint ice cream on top of the bananas.

Scoop a large scoop of Chantilly on top of the ice cream. Pour granola on top of the Chantilly. Stick strawberries on the sides and on top of the ice creams. Stick the dried meringue shards around the sundae.

To finish, pour warm chocolate sauce all over the sundae.

Mango Picante Cocktail


1 ½ ounces Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac

1 ounce Boiron Mango Puree

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

1 ounce simple syrup


Chipotle chili powder/sugar rim

Combine all ingredients, shake vigorously and double strain into coupe. Garnish with lime.

Greenwich Means Thyme Cocktail


1 ½ ounces Plymouth gin

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

1 ½ ounces honey syrup

Fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems

Thyme sprig, for garnish

Place all ingredients into a shaker.

Lightly muddle the thyme leaves, add large ice cubes and shake vigorously.

Double strain over fresh ice into a glass, garnish with remaining thyme sprig and serve.


Photography by Bruce Plotkin

You may also like…

I call this “date-night” rib eye because it serves two perfectly, and because there’s something romantic to me about cooking a big, juicy steak...
We chat with the Rowayton Seafood brand manager and writer of their recent coffee table book about everything from tinned fish to what’s on...
When it comes to party appetizers, I have a few guiding principles. First, they should be easy to make (especially when there is an...