Whole Roast Fish with Lemon and Herbs


Designer and blogger Athena Calderone often makes this whole roast fish for her family on Christmas Day — it makes a dramatic centerpiece for a holiday meal. Like the rest of her menu, it tastes fresh and bright, thanks to a double hit of herbs.

Whole Roast Fish with Lemon and Herbs
Photo: © Fredrika Stjärne
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs



  • 1 (2 1/2) pound whole fish, such as red snapper, cleaned and scaled

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs, such as thyme, oregano, parsley, and rosemary

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

Salsa verde

  • 1/2 cup minced parsley

  • 1/4 cup minced basil

  • 1/4 cup minced mint

  • 1 tablespoon minced capers

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/2 jalapeño (optional)

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper


Make the Fish

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Put the fish on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make 3 crosswise slashes down to the bone on each side of the fish. Rub with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stuff each slash with one lemon slice and some herbs. Stuff the cavity with the shallot, fennel, garlic and remaining lemon slices and herbs. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the flesh is opaque.

Make the salsa verde

  1. In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients. Serve the fish with the salsa verde.

Make ahead

The salsa verde can be refrigerated overnight.

Suggested pairing

Citrusy Sicilian white.

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