After a recent trip to my local Wegmans, I noticed that they had fresh, whole Branzino on ice, (aka, mediterranean seabass, bronzini, spigola, bronzino, etc..) which naturally peaked my attention, and I excitedly bought two. Branzino is a mild white fish with a firm texture and few bones. They’re not particularly large fish, only usually ranging from 1-3 lbs, so it’s a perfect fish to stuff and cook whole.
Not really having any particular recipe in mind, I went to flavors that I am comfortable with and that work well together. Lemon and herbs always work well with fish so I grabbed a bunch of basil, thyme and oregano and sped home, eager to get started cooking.
Luckily, the person at the fish counter was kind enough to make sure that the fish was fully cleaned and prepped before I left the store, so the only prep step that I took at home was to rinse the fish with water inside and out and pat dry. Gathering my ingredients was simple: some garlic, thinly sliced lemon, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper, and olive oil.
I first seasoned the inside and outside of the fish liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. Then simply took my lemon, herbs, and garlic and stuffed them gently into the open cavity. Finally I drizzled a little olive oil over outside of the fish and placed them on a parchment covered baking sheet. To save time and effort, I threw a few asparagus stalks on the baking sheet as well, and sprinkled them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? That’s because it was.
The fish took about 20 minutes to cook. If you want it to be slightly more brown, simply put it under the broiler for another minute or two. It turned out perfect. The skin was brown and crispy, and the inside was moist and succulent. The flavor was mild but with subtle hints of garlic, lemon, and herbs. Cleanup was a cinch, as all I needed to do was throw away the parchment that the fish and asparagus cooked on. It was certainly an impressive offering for such a minimal amount of work.
- 2 whole branzino, cleaned and prepped
- 1 lemon, sliced thinly
- 2-3 stalks of thyme, basil, and oregano (or any other fresh herb)
- 1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Rinse branzino with water, pat dry.
- Sprinkle liberally inside and out with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Gently stuff cavity with lemon slices, stalks of herbs and garlic slices.
- Drizzle olive oil over both sides of fish.
- Place fish on a parchment covered baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, or until done.
- If desired, broil for a minute or two after cooking.
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