Roasted Branzino with Caper Butter


"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 achieves a crispy skin on the stovetop and then finishes the whole branzino that's stuffed with lemon and rosemary in the oven. 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.

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
8 servings
Roasted Branzino with Caper Butter
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Kosher salt

  • 4 (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, divided


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

  2. Season branzino cavities with salt to taste and stuff 2 lemon rounds and 1 rosemary sprig in each. Season outside of fish with salt to taste.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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