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A simple recipe for Grilled Branzino with flavorful Preserved Lemon Gremolata – a flavorful Mediterranean meal that can be made in 35 minutes! (Feel free to substitute other whole fish!) No preserved lemons? No problem, see recipe notes!
Relax. Nothing is in control. Linda Baffa
Hey friends, you are looking at one of my all-time favorite summertime meals – Grilled Branzino! The crispy-skinned fish is topped with a flavorful Preserved Lemon Gremolata. If you been following the blog, hopefully, you’ll have preserved lemons by now that you can use for this! But don’t worry if you don’t, yes you can use regular lemons. 🙂
Grilled whole fish is surprisingly fast and easy, and comes together in 30 minutes flat! Feel free to substitute other whole fish, if you can’t find Branzino!
What is Branzino?
Branzino, also know as European Sea Bass is a Mediterranean fish commonly used Italian, Greek and Portuguese cuisine. Whole Branzino typically ranges from one to three pounds, and this one here is 1.3 pounds, perfect for two people.
Branzino has delicate, flaky, white flesh with mild flavor and makes for easy and quick grilling or roasting!
How to Grill a whole fish:
- Gut and descale (or buy it this way)
- Rinse it off inside and out and pat dry.
- Brush with olive oil.
- Generously season with salt and pepper, inside and out.
- Cut some slits into the thick end of the fish for even cooking.
- Slice some lemons and place them inside the cavity of the fish. Tuck in some fresh herbs- thyme, rosemary, sage or parsley.
- Grill each side roughly 5 minutes, on medium-high heat (or medium for fish over 2 lbs) until crispy and cooked through, keeping the tail end over lower heat if possible.
Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the side of the fish at the thicker end.
The tail end will cook faster than the head end, so this will help cook to evenly on the grill.
Heat the grill to medium-high and oil the grates. If possible, lower heat on one side.
How long to grill a whole fish?
Place the fish on hot, greased grill, with the tail end on the cooler side. Let it grill, uncovered, not moving it for about 5 minutes for a two-pound fish, or until you see grill marks.
Use a metal spatula and tongs to carefully flip. Cover, grill until crisp with visible grill marks and eyes cloud, another 5-7 minutes.
While the fish is grilling make the flavorful Preserved Lemon Gremolata.
You’ll need 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, garlic, preserved lemons, and olive oil.
Then just give a stir. Add Chili flakes if you like!
You will most likely not need all the Preserved Lemon Gremolata- but trust me when I tell you, you’ll use it up during the week.
I spooned it over toasted sourdough bread with avocado, and swirled it some warm lentils- so tasty!
Using two large metal spatulas, carefully lift grilled branzino onto a serving platter or cutting board.
Then spoon the flavorful Preserved Lemon Gremolata over top!
What to serve with Whole Fish:
Related: 20 Simple Healthy Fish Recipes and 30 Grilling Recipes for summer!
Hope you love this as much as we do….let me know what you think in the comments below!
Grilled Branzino with Preserved Lemon Gremolata
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: fish, whole fish, grilling recipes
- Method: grilled
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- Diet: Gluten Free
Grilled Branzino topped with Preserved Lemon Gremolata that can be made in 40 minutes. (How to grill the whole fish!)
- 1 whole branzino- cleaned, gutted, descaled (roughly 1.25- 2lbs) or sub other whole fish -see notes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 lemon
- a small handful of fresh herbs- thyme, rosemary, sage or parsley
Preserved Lemon Gremolata:
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (about 1 cup, tender stems ok)
- 1/4 cup chopped preserved lemons (rind and flesh) see notes for substitution
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- cracked pepper
- optional chili flakes
- When you buy a whole fish- make sure it is gutted and descaled.
- Rinse it off inside and out and pat it extra dry.
- Brush liberally with oil.
- Season generously with salt and pepper, inside and out.
- Slice some lemons and place inside the cavity of the fish. Tuck in some fresh herbs- thyme, rosemary, sage or parsley.
- Using a sharp knife, cut 2-3 slits into each side of the fish at the thicker end. The tail end will cook faster than the head end, so this will help cook to evenly on the grill.
- Heat the grill to medium-high heat, 400F (or medium if fish is over 2 pounds) and oil the grates. If possible, lower heat on one side.
- Place the fish on hot, greased grill, with the tail end on the cooler side. Grill, covered, not moving it for about 5 minutes for a 1 1/2-2 pound fish, or until you see grill marks.
- Use a thin metal spatula and tongs to carefully flip. Cover, grill until crisp with visible grill marks and eyes cloud, another 4-5 minutes.
- While the fish is grilling make the flavorful Preserved Lemon Gremolata, placing all ingredients in a bowl and stir.
- Place fish on a platter and right before serving spoon the flavorful Gremolata over top. Yes, please eat the delicious crispy skin!
- Enjoy this with Everyday Quinoa and a leafy green salad.
Feel free to substitute other whole fish, roughly the same weight – Trout, snapper, a small sockeye salmon, steelhead, etc.
Adjust grilling time for bigger or smaller fish. The goal is to get the crispy skin, char, or grill marks while not overcooking the flesh. A wood or coal fire elevates this 100%.
If you don’t have Preserved Lemons, substitute with zest of one lemon plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. And 1/4 teaspoon salt, or just make this Gremolata Recipe!
- Serving Size: 6 ounces fish with 2 tablespoons gremolata
- Calories: 444
- Sugar: 0.8 g
- Sodium: 460.9 mg
- Fat: 30.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 4.4 g
- Fiber: 1.2 g
- Protein: 39.7 g
- Cholesterol: 111.4 mg
Keywords: Grilled Branzino, branzino recipes, how to grill a whole fish,
Absolute perfection! I made this tonight for my hubby on our anniversary. We LOVED it!! It was easy to follow and full of amazing flavor. I never leave reviews but had to take the time to do so now. Sylvia you never disappoint.All the recipes I’ve tried have been fantastic. A million thanks for sharing your gifts with all of us.
Thanks & awesome Shelley! So happy you enjoyed!
easy and great recipe! Loved it!!!
Great to hear!
Tried this recipe it was fantastic . I bought mine from Costco . Cooked 3 in the oven at 400 degrees 15 mins on each side and broiled it for 5mins to brown the skin . It was very good . The lemon gramalto is a must . It was superb when topped with it . Thanks Silvia for another winner .
Thanks Robin- so happy you enjoyed this. I’m actaully blown away Costco has Branzino!Who would have thought?
We got 4 for 40$ . Great price👍
This recipe is spot on! Quick, easy and delish!
I enjoyed my Branzino very much .what did you served with
I’m so glad Anna- I served it with Grilled Potatoes and a leafy green salad!
great, made with branzino from Whole Foods $24 for 2 fishes, serves 4
Awesome David! thanks for sharing that Whole Foods carries it!
I found Grilled Tranzino mentioned in Donna Leon’s latest novel “Transient Desires. ” So I queried Grilled Tranzino, looked at the 1st 5 or six entries until I saw your blog title. Ah, I told myself, this smells genuine. I decided to earmark your blog right after I saw the recipe.
We’ll find a good substitute for the Branzino Bambino following your clues. Light flavored, flaky white meat.
The photographs smell heavenly delicious.
Thanks so much!
Awesome Sarah! Glad you liked this one!
great recipe have done this on a trip to Canada in `remote forest caught pike used fresh lemons. stuffedr in with parsley olive oil and garlic powder and as you said salt n pepper
thanks Joseph- nothing like eating in the woods. 🙂
note when selecting fresh fish the eyes tell the story. they should be clear and bright not cloudy. and press the flesh it should bounce back not leave a dent best also to shop Friday late morning for the best pick. and ask your fish monger for the freshest catch ya don’t ask ya don’t get !!!!!!!!
Thanks Joseph! Helpful information!!! Love all your useful comments, very appreciated. xoxo