This whole Branzino is filleted and stuffed with bright and refreshing herbs and lemon slices. It's roasted and then broiled to infuse as much flavor and crispiness into the skin of the fish itself, and the meat turns out so light and flakey. Honestly, it turns out so good - and so easy to make - that it's quickly become my wife and I's go-to recipe for making whole branzino.
Table of Contents
Why You'll Love This Recipe
It's easy to make. Trust me, you will wow your friends and family when you set this incredible plate of fish on the table. It's such a stunning dish they'll think you spent hours in the kitchen preparing it. Little do they know, this dish comes together in under an hour.
Simple ingredients. This Branzino fillet uses many simple ingredients such as lemon, household spices, and butter. I usually have all of these ingredients on hand. You probably do, as well!
So flavorful. This dish is full of so many bright and refreshing flavors. From the fresh lemon juice to the aromatic garlic and onion, it all goes so well with the flakey fish.
Ingredients You'll Need
For the lemon butter sauce:
- Butter- I used salted butter to help the flavor profile in this dish.
- Garlic- minced for aromatic and savory flavor notes.
- Onion- chopped, I used white onion, but any cooking onion will work here.
- Lemon juice- there's nothing better than freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Seasonings- salt and pepper, to taste.
- Chives- fresh and finely chopped.
For the fish:
- Whole branzino- the star of the dish!
- Lemon- sliced thin, adds brightness and acidity to the fish.
- Olive oil- extra virgin, helps to crisp the skin of the fish.
How To Cook Branzino
Step 1: Cook the aromatics. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute or until the onion/garlic mixture is golden brown.
Step 2: Make the butter sauce. Turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and chives. Stir to incorporate. Cover and keep the sauce at room temperature or slightly warmer.
Step 3: Prepare the fish. Use paper towels to dry any excess moisture from the skin of the Branzino. Use a sharp knife to cut deep, 2-inch slits, about 1-inch apart, along both sides of the fish. Filet the fish along the belly with a sharp knife. Place the fish on a large foil or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Step 4: Stuff the fish. Open the fish along the filet cut and season the Branzino cavity with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ pepper. Stuff the fish with 2 or 3 lemon slices. Close the fish up and brush both sides of the fish generously with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of the fish with a light layer of salt and pepper.
Step 5: Roast and broil the fish. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Quickly remove the fish from the oven and move the oven rack to the upper position. Turn the broiler on high. When it is ready, place the fish under the broiler. Broil on high for 5 minutes, watching closely and rotating the pan as needed. Do not overcook.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy! When the fish has a delicious crispy skin, remove it from the oven. Serve it immediately with the lemon butter sauce. Enjoy!
- Season your fish well! Branzino, on its own has a mild, almost sweet flavor. The addition of the lemon and spices really brings the flavor up a notch.
- Be sure to use enough oil so that the skin becomes crispy, but don't oversaturate the fish.
- Do not overcook this fish. There is nothing worse than dry, crumbly branzino.
- The broiler is HOT! It will burn the fish if you're not careful, so make sure to pay attention during this step.
- Serve this dish alongside a salad or on a bed of rice.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
In the fridge: You can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Simply let the fish cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container and placing them in the fridge.
In the freezer: You can also store any leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months. Wrap the completely cooled leftovers tightly in plastic wrap before placing them in a sealable freezer bag and freezing.
Reheating: The best way to reheat leftover Branzino is in a 250°F oven. Place the fish in a baking dish, splash a little water over the fish, and cover it in foil. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until warmed.
More Fish Recipes
For Lemon Butter Sauce:
- ¼ cup salted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Freshly chopped chives
- 1 whole branzino
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- Extra virgin olive oil
- In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-high. Add onions and sauté until soft and translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute or until the onion/garlic mixture is golden brown.
- Turn off the heat. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper, and chives. Cover and keep the sauce at room temp or slightly warmer.
- Use paper towels to dry any excess moisture from branzino. Use a sharp knife to cut deep, 2-inch slits, about 1-inch apart, along both sides of the fish. Place fish on a large foil or parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Season each branzino cavity with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ pepper. Stuff each cavity with 2 or 3 lemon slices. Brush both sides of each fish generously with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of each fish with a light layer of salt and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Quickly remove the fish from the oven, move the oven rack to the upper position, and place the fish under the broiler. Broil on high for 5 minutes, watching closely and rotating the pan as needed.
- Serve immediately with lemon butter sauce.
Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 747Total Fat: 63gSaturated Fat: 32gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 176mgSodium: 759mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 28g