Branzino is a mild, flaky, slightly sweet fish that's popular in Italian cuisine. Our preferred way to prepare it is to roast the whole fish, seasoned simply with olive oil, fresh thyme, and salt. The secret to an evenly roasted fish with crisp skin is to prop it up with lemon wedges along its sides. Use this roasting technique with other fish, such as snapper, perch, cod, Arctic char, bass, sea bream, and haddock.

Martha Stewart Living, March 2019


Credit: Ryan Liebe

Recipe Summary

10 mins
30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat fish dry; rub cavity and skin with oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with lemon slices and a few sprigs of thyme. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, standing fish upright (cavity-side down); anchor in place with 3 lemon wedges along each side. Scatter remaining thyme sprigs around fish.

  • Roast until fish is just cooked through, 17 to 22 minutes, depending on size. Fillet fish and serve with roasted lemon wedges or one of the fish sauces.

Cook's Notes

Don't Pick a Side: To cook a whole fish evenly and get all the skin crisp, prop it up on its belly, using lemon wedges to bolster it on both sides. The citrus softens and caramelizes in the oven, perfect for squeezing over the fish when serving.