Baked Whole Branzino with lemons, garlic and parsley, drizzled with red hot pepper oil! I was very excited to see that this particular fish was from Turkey, which is where my family is from. I just had to buy it and come up with a recipe!
I purchased this fish from my local Asian grocery store. If you have not heard of this fish before, it is a type of Sea Bass (read more about it here) found in Europe. It is a very popular fish in Mediterranean cooking. It's not a typical fish you see in your local grocery. If you do, I am sure it will be pretty pricey. I recommend going to any type of Asian or Mediterranean stores to get a better deal.
For Purchasing: When you purchase seafood, plan to cook the dish the same day. I don't take changes on freshness with seafood, so plan your menu accordingly.
For Cleaning: I strongly recommend having them cleaned at the grocery store. The market I go to does it for free. Just ask and it will make your life so much easier. Otherwise, you'll need to slice open the fish, take the innards out and discard. Then, you'll need a fish scaler or knife, to scale off the fish.
Cooking Tip: I also like to stuff the inside of the cavity with lemons and some type of herbs. For this recipe, I used Parsley, but you can use whatever herbs you like. It really helps with adding extra flavor to the fish.
To prepare this baked whole Branzino dish, start by cleaning the fish. Once cleaned, set aside.
Chop the parsley and raw garlic, place in a bowl and add the 1/4-1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, then mix. Set aside.
Slice up the lemons. One whole lemon slices will be used to stuff the fish and the part of the other lemon will be used for the top portion of the fish. Once the lemons are sliced, set aside.
With a knife, slice the tops of the fish diagonally. Salt the fish on both sides, including the cavity. Place the sliced lemons into the slits and stuff both fish with sliced lemons.
Place into the oven to bake at 400 degrees. The cook time should be about 25 minutes or more, depending on how large the fish are. The ones pictured, took about 25 minutes.
Once the fish are cooked, place them onto the serving plater and put the parsley and garlic paste on top. Drizzle the red pepper chili oil, and lastly, drizzle a little bit of the extra virgin olive oil on top.
Serve immediately as a main course with your favorite side dishes! This is great for either a casual or a more formal dinner.
This fish goes great with lots of healthy greens. You can serve it with a side dish of dandelions, collards or a side salad. If you want to add carbs to your meal, you can serve it with some quinoa or Turkish rice.
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