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Lemon stuffed grilled branzino

Branzino, also known as Mediterranean seabass, European seabass, or loup de mer, is low in fat but has a wonderful richness when cooked on the bone. If you haven't cooked a whole fish before, branzino is the one with which to learn. It is quick, easy and the results, particularly on the grill, are spectacular. Most important, it gives the fish-challenged cook a big window for doneness. Fish fillets have to be cooked on the money—they go from perfect to overcooked very quickly. Whole, skin-on fish have their bones to flavor the meat and keep it moist, and the skin protects the delicate flesh. Buy branzino whole and have your fishmonger gut the fish for you. Look for branzino with clear eyes, firm flesh and no fishy smell.
Adapted from Food and Wine



  • 2  whole branzino (~1 pound) — scaled and gutted.

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 4 thyme sprigs

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 2 lemons—1 thinly sliced, 1 cut into wedges

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • Finely chopped parsley, for serving

Alternative herbs:

  • Handful of basil

  • Handful of cilantro

  • 4 limes, 2 sliced and 2 cut into wedges


  1. Prepare the grill: Scrub the grill grates and generously oil them with olive oil. Heat to medium high.

  2. Season the fish cavities with salt and pepper. Stuff each cavity with a thyme sprig, a bay leaf and 2 lemon slices.

  3. Generously rub the branzino down with olive oil and liberally season with salt and pepper.

  4. Grill the branzino over high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. (The temprature in the thickest part of the cavity near the spine should read 135-140).

  5. Serve right away, passing salt, lemon wedges and parsley at the table.

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