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"It's almost impossible to end up with dry, overcooked fish when cooking it whole," says chef Steve Corry about the star of this recipe. "The bones protect against extreme heat, plus they add flavor and moisture." Here, Corry pan-roasts whole branzino that's stuffed with lemon and rosemary. He makes an easy compound butter — which melts on the fish to become a sauce — with wild Tunisian mountain capers, although any caper will work.

March 2008


Credit: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Recipe Summary

25 mins
40 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, mix butter with capers, lemon juice and parsley and season with salt. Hold at room temperature.

  • Season branzino cavities with salt and stuff 2 lemon rounds and 1 rosemary sprig in each. Season fish with salt.

  • In a large, nonstick, ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Add 2 branzino and cook over high heat until branzino skin is browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.

  • Transfer fish to a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 stuffed branzino. Roast fish in the oven for about 10 minutes, until just cooked through.

  • Serve whole or filleted, passing caper butter at the table.

Suggested Pairing

When prepared simply, mild branzino can be overwhelmed by big, New World white wines, but it pairs well with Vermentino, the crisp Italian white.