This Branzino Al Forno is made with whole branzino, olive oil, cherry tomatoes, lemon slices, butter, parsley and baked to perfection.
This will never cook another fish not whole again. Roasting a fish with all the skin and bones truly gives it so much flavor and it is so delicious. I made my Mexican Snapper Veracruz style and it was so good! Now I had to try the Italian style whole fish so I obviously bought branzino. I don’t understand how I have spent most of my life cooking fish in fillets. If you were to ask any chef, the best way to make a fish is whole. The meat is juicier, more tender and full of flavor because of the bones. Many may think cooking a whole fish is intimidating, but it is no easier than baking in fillets. You can tell if the fish is fresh by the smell - a fish should NOT smell fishy! It should smell clean and of the ocean. Check the eyes as well. The eyes should be clear, not cloudy. The gills should be bright red or orange, not brown. The fish should feel firm, and should not dent when you poke it. Ask them to gut, clean, scale and butterfly the fish before buying.
If you like this recipe, feel free to try my White Wine Salmon with Blistered Tomatoes.
- Cherry Tomatoes
See recipe card for quantities.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat fish dry. Score fish three times on each side. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with parley and 2 tablespoon squares butter. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Scatter cherry tomatoes and lemon wedges around the fish. Place the last butter square on top of the fish.
Roast until fish is just cooked through, 17 to 22 minutes, depending on size. Fillet fish and serve with roasted lemon wedges.
Hint: Don’t be shy to ask them to inspect the fish yourself before buying. Remember: it shouldn’t smell fishy, the eyes should be clear and the gills should be red or orange.
Fish: Go to your local fish market and ask the fish monger what is their freshest fish they have. I used branzino for this recipe, but you could use a whole seabass. Then, ask them to clean, scale, and butterfly the fish for you. They less steps you need to do, the better.
Butter: I used salted butter but you could use ghee or unsalted butter and salt yourself.
Lemons: For best taste, use real lemons and not store bought lemon juice. I sliced the lemons and caramelized them on each side.
Parsley: I used fresh parsley although you can also use thyme instead. If you would rather use dried parsley or thyme, that would work but just use less.
Cooking is a chance to be creative! Have fun with it and feel free to make your own variation of Branzino Al Forno.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes to imbue heat into the dish.
- Kid friendly - add fish meat onto a taco with some slaw.
Check out HOW TO MAKE SMOKED FISH DIP!
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. Stone bakeware takes longer to heat up than metal pans, and also retain heat for longer, which could make the recipe more watery, or burnt on the outsides.
I love using my Caraway pots, pans and baking sheets for best quality. Get yourself a discount by clicking here!
This will be good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
These Branzino Al Forno ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
Don’t be shy to ask them to inspect the fish yourself before buying. Remember: it shouldn’t smell fishy, the eyes should be clear and the gills should be red or orange.Print
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove