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Whole Branzini


I have always been intimidated by cooking a whole fish. There is a lot of stuff most people are intimidated cooking that I have no problem with, but the whole fish just seemed scary to me! I walked into whole foods unsure of what I was cooking that night. This is rare; normally when I go there I wish I could buy everything I see but I have a strict plan. This particular day I just wandered and bought whatever I felt like. The olives I am always wishing I could get, but more importantly a whole branzini (european seabass) that was fresh as can be. This location cracks me up because someone always ends up talking to me there. When I asked for the fish, the woman standing next to me said "you know how to cook that?" "Ehh, I normally buy first, ask questions later" was my reply. I have to say that the fish was super easy and came out flakey, juicy, tender, and delicious. Branzini is a great beginner whole fish and I cant wait to move on to the intermediate level!

I served this with a simple bulgar salad.

Some cerignola olives.

Olives parsley and lemon zest.

The fish is coated in salt, pepper and olive oil, and stuffed with parsley and lemon slices. They cleaned it for me at the store!

Bulgar, olives, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil. My original plan was to put this inside the fish, but I changed my mind last minute. There wasn't much space in there and it seemed pointless.

Even putting a ton of oil on the grill and the fish, the skin broke a little. No big deal, this is a rustic meal among friends.

This fish was split between 2 people, so I easily filleted it after it was cooked. It wasn't perfect, but it went smoothly enough. Again, this is a rustic meal!

Yum, this was really tasty and really juicy. I think I have bigger fish to fry!

I basically covered the fish in olive oil, salt, and pepper, stuffed some parsley and lemon slices inside, and grilled it. Grilling was only 3 minutes per site. ONLY 3 MINUTES PER SIDE!!! Can you believe it? Super quick. I split it between 2 people, but next time instead of getting the largest one for 2, I would get the smallest 2 and give each person their own fish. The cool thing was there wasn't a ton of bones or anything to be scared of, it was easy to eat and really tasty. I highly suggest the branzini as a beginner whole fish!


you and your word play...
good jorb, even though I'd never eat this.

What's it taste like?

This is almost exactly how I do it. Only instead of zesting the lemon I just use slices, and some smashed garlic.

Hey, I just discovered your blog and totally love it!

Next time try a whole fried fish. For 2 people select 2 small rockcod (that's what we call them in CA, but a snapper would also work). Clean the fish and ensure that it is well scaled, especially the head. Score the flesh with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern, season with salt and pepper and let set for a half an hour or so. Then coat in rice flour and deep fry in oil. I then make a sesame, soy, miso, green onion and hot chile sauce to pour over top or dip. That is my favorite way to eat fish. Be sure to get all the good head bits as well, cheek, tongue, collar, and throat.

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