Preparing a whole fish can be intimidating. At least that was how I felt the first time I did it. In actuality, cooking a whole fish (instead of a filet) is surprisingly uncomplicated and simple, plus the taste is incredible. If that’s not enough, it’s almost impossible to end up with dry, overcooked fish when cooking it whole. The bones protect against the heat, plus they add flavor and moisture. One of my favorite fishes is branzino (sometimes referred to as Mediterranean sea bass) simply roasted and stuffed with lemon, parsley and rosemary.
* I served it with a whole-wheat gnocchi in a white wine and herb sauce. It was so good I made it again last night and served it with a spicy broccoli rabe and Mediterranean farro salad.
Oven Roasted Whole Branzino
- 2 (1 to 1 ½ -pound) whole branzino or striped sea bass, cleaned and gutted with the backbone intact, head/tail removal optional.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 large rosemary sprigs
Preheat the oven to 425°. Rinse fish, pat dry, and place in a lightly oiled roasting pan or baking dish.
Brush fish inside and out with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity of each fish with 2 or 3 lemon slices and 2 parsley sprigs and 1 rosemary sprig.
Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve immediately.
I’m headed to the beach, see you in a week…