Grilled Branzino, simple supple fish grilled perfectly with lemon, spices, leaving the Branzino to shine forth with its moist delicate flesh slightly elevated in flavor.
Grilled Branzino, what can I say. I have craved to make a dish like this ever since I was in Positano with my wife Nicoletta. And finally I have the chance as I found a fish that truly spoke to me and right away it brought back that feeling on that starry moonlit night.
We were in a restaurant up on the mountain, the sun had just set and the moon lit the seaside bay below us. A truly romantic setting for dinner. I had grilled fish done on a wood fired barbecue. I am going to embarrass myself to say the least and also fail my proper eating etiquette class. I wanted to eat the bones, really eat them fish bones, but I didn’t as I looked over at my beautifully poised wife, thinking I am a gentlemen, so I refrained. The fish had a flavor that I had never experienced. Just seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil, and a slight bit of fresh lemon and of course the wood fired up adding a bit of smoke to the profile, but not like in America where smoking ingredients is a religion, it was more like a suggestion, and that is it. It is true sometimes what they say the simplest things in life are a blessing, as this grilled Branzino is in that category for sure!
Grilled Branzino, the story begins!
I am going to sound repetitive here because by now you all know how much Nicoletta and I love going to any market. I would say that visiting outside markets is much more preferred as our winters are long and dark. So Saturday morning sun is shining, our usual breakfast excursion is done, and we are casually walking the Edmonton Downtown 104 street market. Ocean Odyssey was to the right of us and we scrolled down the list of fresh fish for the day and there it was, Branzino. I love that feeling when every cell in your body jumps and your skin tingles and you have been inspired. I recalled those luscious flavors of that fish in Positano and automatically I was in create mode with a good fired up barbecue in mind.
Fish all washed and cleaned a few slices of lemon, some thyme, parsley, sea salt and pepper, olive oil and that’s it. I am keeping it simple! We had some truly organic long beans from my parents’ garden that I thought would be a prefect bed for the grilled fish.
I will share with you that when you steam these beautifully colored beans they change color from a bold violet to a muted green, shame as that color would be a nice vibrant backdrop for the fish, although as we are being simple, nothing says simpler than the colors of the earth and these green beans definitely say natural.
I simple steamed the beans then sauteed them in some extra virgin cold pressed organic olive oil, wow that was a mouthful, and some garlic, salt and pepper. The fish seasoned with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and stuffed with the lemon slices and thyme and parsley.
On to the BBQ it goes to get some crispy edges and golden color, enhanced by charred marks on the skin. I cooked it on both sides a total of 20 minutes and onto a plate with the green beans as a bed.
The flavors of this Grilled Branzino were simple and delicious. The flesh just fell off the bone and was so moist and delicate. I had that feeling of eating at one of those fine dining restaurants, which I have to add that I have done in Rome Italy, but that’s another story. The lemon beautifully adding it bright fresh notes to the flesh. The sea salt awakening the flavors of our surrounding waters, the pepper a hint of spice along with that thyme and parsley adding yet another level of bite to this delectable jewel of the ocean. Those edges that caramelized and crystallized so intense in flavor. The beans tender with that just slight bite of crispiness reminding us of its natural origin and garlic bathing itself on the surface mingling beautifully with the earthiness of the olive oil, salt and pepper. A truly astounding dish in my eyes. If you ever see Branzino at your local fish market, fresh, I would grab it and try this wonderfully simple recipe for Grilled Branzino stuffed with lemon and herbs.
Don’t forget those lemon wedges as a quick squeeze of those juices will definitely compliment the flavors of this dish.
Song of the day: “Bungalow” by Scott Helman.Print
- 1 1.5 kg whole Branzino
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small fresh organic lemons
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- Sea salt and Pepper to taste
- 3 cups of purple long beans or long beans of your choice
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and cut into interior center of fish allowing you to spread the fish apart more.
- Drizzle some olive oil all over exterior of fish.
- Also season outside of fish with salt and pepper.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water place the washed purple beans.
- Let the beans boil for about 15 minutes or until your desired tenderness is achieved.
- Take out of boiling water and rinse under cold water, then drain well in a colander.
- In a pan add oil and garlic, when the garlic starts to sizzle add in beans and toss well.
- Season with salt and pepper but remember beans were cooked in salted water so taste first.
- Saute for 10 minutes until well coated with olive oil and garlic.
- Place on a nice oval dish.
- Preheat barbecue to 400° F.
- Cut 1 lemon into rounds about 1/4 of a centimeter in thickness.
- Place fish on back side and spread open and season well with olive oil salt and pepper.
- Place in the thyme and parsley, along with the lemon rounds into the fish.
- Close fish and place on barbecue.
- Grill for about 10 minutes and watch for burning may have to move in another part of grill.
- Turn over and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remember fish is delicate so be careful and use a nice big spatula.
- Take fish off barbecue and place on top of beans
- Ready to serve
- Serving Size: 2 servings