Whole Roasted Branzino

I grew up in a place where I can walk to the fish market. ‘Morning walk’ to the fish market with my mom is one of the fondest memories of my childhood. In Korea, most fish (unless it’s used in stews) is served as whole so when I see a menu that has ‘whole fish’, I don’t even read the description, I just order. Something so simple, and primal about whole fish….I just love it. Of course, my husband who grew up in the other side of the world, seems uncomfortable when he sees whole fish served on the table. But today, it’s all about me….:D (I cut the head off for him at least) Branzino is basically The Mediterranean sea bass. My ultimate favorite fish in the whole world. It’s delicate yet so creamy….once you have it, you can’t go back to filet of regular sea bass.

1 whole branzino, ( gutted  & scaled – I asked my fish market to do it for me – use a few wink wink and smile. )
Marinade  : 1 cup cilantro, 1/2 olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 teaspoon hot chili flakes, 2 Tablespoon fish sauce, half of lemon juice, salt & pepper


Have your fish market clean the fish for you. Gutted and scaled. I had them cut the head because I didn’t want to scare my husband.

1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor. Save some to drizzle on top of the fish when it’s done.

2. Marinade the fish in a ziplock bag and place it in a refrigerator for at least a few hours.
3. Preheat the oven 450’F

4. Make a big ball out of aluminum foil (Fish will stand on top of it)

5. Make the deep incision in the fish belly (?), so it can lay on top of ‘foil ball’. (If you use a convection oven, air conduction flow will knock out the fish so secure our little guy on the ball by making deeper incision. ) You can stuff the fish with some cilantro and lemon.
6. Roast it for 15 mins or till flesh is opaque.

Cheat time! This is Trader Joe’s Frozen Rice Medley. Brown, red brown and brown barley. 3 mins in a microwave and you are ready to go!

Hardly believe this is frozen. I can’t even cook rice this perfect myself…..


So delicate yet creamy….

This is my kind of meal!

You can roast it with some black olives and tomatoes and make this dish ‘Mediterranean’ version. Just remember- simpler, the better! Let the fish shine!

I found this blog where it shows the fish market in my home town…aghhh home sick. :)

My hometown fish market. Photo credit – Seoul Eats



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Comments & Responses

5 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Carrie says:

    So beautiful! I have never seen that foil ball method before, but it makes sense. Nice recipe!

  2. avatar April says:

    What a gorgeous fish meal! We are moving to the east coast soon and I cannot wait to be able to have access to fresh fish. This recipe sounds wonderful! :)

  3. Thanks, Carrie and April. I was so happy to see fresh Branzino at a Santa Barbara fish market….but feel free to explore with any other local fresh fish available! :) xoxo

  4. avatar Jack says:

    Fish oil or fish *sauce*?