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Whole Branzino in Grape Leaves with Zucchini, Olives, and Mint

Grape leaves prevent the fish from sticking to the grill while keeping it tender and moist. Branzino is a variety of sea bass; if you can't find it, you can substitute whole trout.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Photography: Johnny Miller

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 2011


  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 2 lemons, 1 juiced and 1 sliced into wedges
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped green olives
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 whole branzino (10 to 12 ounces each), scaled, gutted, and cleaned
  • 8 brined grape leaves, stems removed


  1. Heat grill to medium. Very thinly slice zucchini on the bias (preferably on a mandoline). Transfer to a medium bowl, and toss with lemon juice, olives, mint, 2 1/2 teaspoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Let stand while preparing fish.

  2. Score 3 slits in both sides of each fish using a sharp paring knife. Season with some pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt per side. Arrange 4 sets of 2 grape leaves side by side on a work surface. Place 1 fish on top of each set, and wrap to secure. Brush with remaining 2 teaspoons oil.

  3. Grill fish until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. During last half of cooking, arrange lemon wedges around fish, and grill until caramelized and softened, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer fish and lemons to a serving plate. Serve wrapped fish with zucchini salad and grilled lemons.

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