Food Fridays: Grilled Branzino

Take advantage of BBQ season while it’s here! Try out this Grilled Branzino served with a delicious preserved lemon gremolata!

Cooking and serving a whole fish can seem intimidating at first, but this Mediterranean meal is super fast and easy to make. Branzino is a great mild-tasting white fish, meaning even those who are a bit pickier when it comes to seafood can enjoy. Fish is a great source of protein and omega-3’s, and Branzino in particular is low in calories and high in selenium. An ultra-nutritious summertime meal!

The preserved lemon gremolata adds the perfect citrus punch. Don’t have preserved lemons? Using regular lemon zest and juice will do!

Serve alongside a delicious salad (try this Minty-Fresh Zucchini Salad with Marinated Feta⁠ or this Grilled Carrot Arugula Salad with Fig, Goat Cheese and Avocado ⁠) for a complete meal.

Try it out today! ⁠


For the fish:

  • 1 whole branzino- cleaned, gutted, descaled (roughly 1.25- 2lbs) or sub other whole fish -see notes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • a small handful of fresh herbs- thyme, rosemary, sage or parsley

For the preserved lemon gremolata:

  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (about 1 cup, tender stems ok)
  • 1/4 cup chopped preserved (rind and flesh) see notes for substitution
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • cracked pepper
  • optional chili flakes


  1. When you buy a whole fish- make sure it is gutted and descaled.
  2. Rinse it off inside and out and pat it extra dry.
  3. Brush liberally with oil.
  4. Season generously with salt and pepper, inside and out.
  5. Slice some lemons and place inside the cavity of the fish. Tuck in some fresh herbs- thyme, rosemary, sage or parsley.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut 2-3 slits into each side of the fish at the thicker end. The tail end will cook faster than the head end, so this will help cook to evenly on the grill.
  7. Heat the grill to medium-high heat, 400F (or medium if fish is over 2 pounds) and oil the grates. If possible, lower heat on one side.
  8. Place the fish on hot, greased grill, with the tail end on the cooler side. Grill, covered, not moving it for about 5 minutes for a 1 1/2-2 pound fish, or until you see grill marks.
  9. Use a thin metal spatula and tongs to carefully flip. Cover, grill until crisp with visible grill marks and eyes cloud, another 4-5 minutes.
  10. While the fish is grilling make the flavorful Preserved lemon gremolata, place all ingredients in a bowl and stir.
  11. Place fish on a platter and right before serving spoon the flavorful Gremolata over top. Yes, please eat the delicious crispy skin!


Feel free to substitute other whole fish, of roughly the same weight – Trout, snapper, a small sockeye salmon, steelhead, etc.

Adjust grilling time for bigger or smaller fish. The goal is to get crispy skin, char, or grill marks while not overcooking the flesh. A wood or coal fire elevates this 100%.

If you don’t have preserved lemons substitute with zest of one lemon plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. And 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Recipe by Feasting At Home.