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A simple recipe for grilled branzino topped with gremolata that can be made in 40 minutes. Plus how to grill whole fish.

Grilled Branzino with Preserved Lemon Gremolata

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • 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!)


Units Scale
  • 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


  1. When you buy a whole fish- make sure it is gutted and descaled.
  2. Rinse it off inside and out and pat it extra dry.
  3. Brush liberally with oil.
  4. Season generously with salt and pepper, inside and out.
  5. Slice some lemons and place inside the cavity of the fish. Tuck in some fresh herbs- thyme, rosemary, sage or parsley.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. While the fish is grilling make the flavorful Preserved Lemon Gremolata, placing all ingredients in a bowl and stir.
  11. Place fish on a platter and right before serving spoon the flavorful Gremolata over top. Yes, please eat the delicious crispy skin!
  12. 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,