- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Four 1- to 1 1/4-pound whole branzino or striped bass, scaled and gutted
- 1 lemon, sliced into 8 rounds
- 4 large rosemary sprigs
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, mix the butter with the capers, lemon juice and parsley and season with salt. Keep at room temperature.
- Season the branzino cavities with salt and stuff 2 lemon rounds and 1 rosemary sprig in each. Season the fish with salt.
- In a large, nonstick, ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add 2 of the branzino and cook over high heat until the skin is browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 stuffed branzino. Roast the fish in the oven for about 10 minutes, until just cooked through.
- Serve whole or filleted, passing the caper butter at the table.
When prepared simply, mild branzino can be overwhelmed by big, New World white wines, but it pairs well with Vermentino, the crisp Italian white.