Lemon Soy Roasted Branzino

Because of this, I am probably the last person on earth to recommend a dish that includes a whole fish. Nonetheless, here I am. In the process of carrying it out.

If you didn’t already know, I used to be horrified by the thought of eating any kind of seafood, even something as harmless as a salmon filet or a tuna salad sandwich.

In a sort of Oliver Twist-esque charade, if anyone at the table persisted in convincing me to try the latest sea monster, I would hastily cover the top of my plate with my hands and shake my head.

I experienced a version of this Lemon Soy Roasted Branzino at an Italian restaurant in New York City with my family. We proclaimed it, quote, “the best fish meal we’ve ever had that wasn’t Chinese.” To put it plainly, that is some rather glowing praise.

The branzino pictured here is a type of European or Mediterranean sea bass that is often served whole. It’s simple to handle and cook because there aren’t a lot of little bones to deal with.

These gems were waiting for us in the local Costco superstore, all polished and ready to go! You can substitute fish for the branzino if you can’t find any.

Have no apprehensions. You can do it because if I can do it.

Okay, so let’s begin.


  • 3 16 oz. of scaled, cleaned, and gutted whole branzino
  • salt
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley (chopped, plus more for garnish)
  • juice and zest of ½ a lemon (1 more lemon, chop into 9 rounds)


  1. Prepare an oven temperature of 425 degrees. Soy sauce, the juice of half a lemon, and a tablespoon of minced parsley should be combined with the butter in a bowl.
  2. Use salt to season the branzino, and then load each cavity with three lemon rounds and a sprig of thyme.
  3. Olive oil should shimmer in a big nonstick ovenproof skillet. Cook the branzino for 2 minutes per side, over high heat, until the skin is browned and crisp. Place the fish on a big baking sheet with a rim.
  4. Roast for 9 minutes, drizzle with the butter mixture and sprinkle with additional salt to taste. To broil for the final minutes. Don’t let it burn to the ground by not checking on it occasionally.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of minced parsley on top.

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