Branzino with Mesclun and Tomato–Herbes de Provence Vinaigrette

Branzino, known as loup de mer, or "wolf of the sea" in French, is mild and sweet. Its delicate flavor pairs nicely with a summery tomato–and–mixed herb vinaigrette. Scoring the fish skin before cooking prevents the fillets from curling in the pan.

Branzino with Mesclun and Tomato-Herbes de Provence Vinaigrette
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1 small beefsteak tomato (about 6 ounces), halved crosswise

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated (about 1/4 teaspoon)

  • 4 (5-ounce) skin-on branzino fillets

  • 5 ounces mesclun greens (about 10 cups)

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • ½ cup sliced (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces) fresh chives

  • cup loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves

  • 1 teaspoon fresh chervil leaves (optional)


  1. Grate cut sides of tomato halves on small holes of a box grater into a medium bowl until only tomato skin remains in your hand; discard tomato skins. Add 6 tablespoons oil, vinegar, herbes de Provence, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and garlic to grated tomato in bowl; whisk until well combined. Set vinaigrette aside.

  2. Place 1 branzino fillet, skin side up, over rim of a plate. Gently fold fillet over the rim to pull the skin taut. Using a sharp paring knife, score only the skin by making 3 to 4 shallow slashes, being careful not to cut too deep into the fillet. Repeat scoring process with remaining 3 fillets. Sprinkle both sides of fillets evenly with 1 teaspoon salt.

  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add fillets, skin side down, to skillet; using a fish spatula (see Note), gently press each fillet to flatten. Cook, undisturbed, until skin is browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Flip fillets; cook until just cooked through, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer fillets, skin side up, to plates or a platter.

  4. While fillets cook, toss together mesclun, parsley, chives, tarragon, and, if using, chervil in a large bowl to combine. Add 1/3 cup tomato vinaigrette, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss well to coat.

  5. Serve salad alongside branzino fillets, passing remaining vinaigrette (about 1/2 cup) at the table.


The large surface area and flexible paddle of a fish spatula make it perfect for pressing fish fillets flat as they cook.

Suggested Pairing

Medium-bodied Oregon Pinot Gris: Ponzi Willamette Valley

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