WHOLE ROASTED BRANZINO

Roasting a whole fish is a simple way to cook fish that is perfectly seasoned and moist at home. I am sure many of you would balk at me for saying it is simple, but cooking fish at home is a fear worth getting over. I love a recipe that is easy enough for a week night meal with family, yet impressive enough for a casual dinner party with friends. The fish is delicately seasoned by stuffing the cavity with a bundle of lemon, garlic and a bundle of herbs. You can serve it alongside rosemary roasted potatoes, sautéed greens. Perhaps my favorite part (aside from the fish) is the herbaceous salsa verde that I drizzle over every bite. 

Ingredients

serves 4 - 6

  • 4 whole Branzino, cleaned
  • 6 lemons
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch oregano
  • 1 bunch tarragon or chives (not both)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 inch slice of jalapeño 
  • 1 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 raw honey
  • 1/2 extra virgin olive oil, plus more for dressing the fish

Method

Heat the oven to 450º and preheat the baking sheets in the oven without oil.

Roughly chop 3 garlic cloves and slice 4 lemons into rounds, fennel into 1/2in pieces. Drizzle the Branzino with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt on the outside and inside the cavity. Stuff the cavity of the fish with the fennel pieces, lemon wheels, garlic and a few sprigs of oregano and parsley in each fish. 

If necessary, using kitchen twine, tie the body of the fish to keep the lemon, and herb bundle nestled in the fish. Score the outside skin of the fish with a sharp knife.

Place on a baking sheet and season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Roast in the oven for 17-22 mins. 

While the fish is roasting, make the salsa verde. I like to use a mini food processor or blender, or you can simply mix in a small bowl. Zest and juice one lemon into a bowl, add the champagne vinegar and mustard. Roughly chop the garlic, jalapeño  and herbs and place into the bowl. If using a blender/food processor add all of the ingredients including 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil and raw honey and flaky sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Blend into a loose mixture. Serve alongside fish in a pretty bowl with a spoon.

Note: I like to serve the fish whole because of the natural beauty. To cut the filets, run your knife down the spine of the fish and around the gills. Then slide the knife under the cooked flesh, above the spine. Using a spatula or serving utensil scoop the filet to serve. Then pick up the tail slowly and remove the skeleton of the fish and discard.