Crispy Grilled Branzino with Olive Salad
Not everyone is a holiday ham or turkey person so this recipe is great for people who want an alternative that isn't tofurkey. I've put together a super easy tutorial to walk you through my process of prepping and grilling the fish. So change up the holiday spread this year and bring the branzino to the table!
Buying and cleaning your fish
When it comes to buying your fish, you can get whole fish anywhere with a decent seafood section. I bought mine from Whole foods and had my fishmonger remove the scales and fins so that it is good to go when I got home. Prepping the fish is extremely easy once you've had it cleaned up. To start, its super important that before you season the fish that you make sure that it's completely dry. I typically use a paper towel to pay it dry inside and out. If your fish remains wet, then it likely won't achieve the crispiness we love on the skin.
Seasoning your fish
In a bowl add oil and assorted spices, herbs, and salt and pepper. Lightly brush the fish with the seasoned oil inside the body and on the skin. There are so many ways to stuff your fish, but I typically love to use a lemon and rosemary. The combination of the 2 give a really vibrant flavor to the fish and can compliment any style you decide to dress it with.
Grilling your fish
Grilling your fish is one of the easiest parts of the process IF you follow a few key steps to ensure that your fish doesn't stick to the grill:
Look up grilling time for the size of your fish. My directions are based off of 1 lb. fish.
You need to make sure your grill is extremely clean and extremely hot.
I rub the grates of grill with a slightly oiled towel to ensure its nice and slick (hold with tongs)
Once you place the fish on the grill DO NOT move it until it's ready to flip. If you try to move your fish too soon the skin will stick (wah wah).
When flipping your fish use tongs and a spatula to support the fish as you flip it. Gently use the spatula when flipping so the skin doesn't stick to the grill.
Eating your fish
When it comes to eating a whole fish there is a little bit of skill required when you're eating it just to make sure you don't eat any bones. The meat should remove from the body extremely easily but within the meat as you pull it apart or chew you may find little wirey bones so just sit those to the side of your plate. The skin is free game if that's your thing, I personally love the crispy and salty skin but you do you boo.
EASY Video Tutorial
Whole Branzino (~1lb)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
6 rosemary sprigs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or any high heat oil)
1 jar (9.5oz) Green Spanish Olives, drained and halved
1/4 cup pimentos, drained and chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp red crushed pepper
Salt & Pepper
Start by making the olive salad. Add the halved olives and finely chopped pimentos to a bowl, and add olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, minced garlic, chopped rosemary, red crushed pepper, and mix. After mixing salt and pepper to taste. Place into the fridge until you serve your fish.
Clean and pat your fish dry with a paper towel and place on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl add 1/4 cup oil, 1 tsp each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley and thyme. Mix with a basting brush.
Brush the fish lightly with the seasoned oil on the skin and inside the cavity then stuff it with small lemon slices and rosemary.
Prepare your grill, follow notes above to ensure you have an extremely clean and hot grill.
When the grill is ready place your fish and DO NOT TOUCH for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, test to see if your fish is ready to flip by simply sliding a spatula under the bottom to see if it sticks. If it's ready then it should lift pretty easily. Use tongs and a spatula or fork to fully support the flip of the fish. Let it grill on the final side for 3 additional minutes.
Once your fish has fully cooked remove it from the heat.
When its ready to plate remove the lemon & rosemary from inside the fish, and then top with your olive salad.