This grilled branzino recipe with a Mediterranean twist is a must-try! The fish is marinated with a herb and lemon mixture, then grilled to perfection and topped with a bright tomato herb relish. Trust me, there's a feast of flavors in every bite.
This grilled branzino is the perfect summer meal with its bright colors and flavors. What I love the most about white fish is that you can add so many flavors to them. If you like white fish, check out my lemon garlic tilapia, Greek style baked mahi mahi and pan seared cod with shallots and fennel. Also, be sure to check out our top fish and seafood recipes for more inspiration.
Table Of Contents:
All about branzino
Branzino, also known as European or Mediterranean seabass and Levrek in Turkish, is native to the waters off southern and western Europe as well as Africa's northern coasts. It's one of my favorites to work with because of its bright flavor and tender flesh.
This grilled branzino has all you need for a delightful meal. Let me tell you why this is the recipe you need to try:
- You're going to learn how to handle and grill a whole fish.
- The fish is marinated with a lemon herb marinade inside and out, making every bit of it juicy and tender.
- Once grilled, the grilled branzino is topped with a tasty tomato herb relish that's tangy and bright, balancing the smoky flavor of the grilled fish.
- Not only this is an easy recipe for grilled fish, it's also very pretty to look at.
How to choose a good branzino
You can find branzino in many supermarkets and seafood stores. Keep in mind that some places sell this fish labeled as European or Mediterranean seabass. Here are my tips for choosing a good branzino:
- The skin should be shiny and plump and the scales should not be missing.
- Make sure the eyes of the fish are bright and not foggy or all dark.
- Fresh branzino should not smell bad and "fishy."
- If poked with a finger, the fish should bounce back and not get indented.
Ingredients and substitutions
Branzino - Make sure you're using fresh branzino that has a firm body and bounces back if poked with a finger.
Garlic, shallots and onions - We are using almost every member of the allium family in this recipe.
Herbs - You're going to need parsley, dill and cilantro. Wash all very well, then dry them and chop them finely. The more herbs you use in this recipe, the better.
Tomatoes - For the relish, we need a few fresh and firm tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are my favorite.
Jalapeno - For a subtle heat, I'm using jalapenos without their seeds. You can use serrano pepper as well.
Lemon - Freshly squeezed lemon juice is a must for this recipe and its bright and fresh flavor. Lemon and fish always go well together.
Spices - You need salt, Aleppo pepper (similar to Turkish pul biber) and sumac.
How to grill branzino
- Make sure the fish are clean and gutted. Cut three slits on each side of the fish but don't go all the way through. In a bowl, mix the olive oil with shallots, garlic, herbs, spices and lemon juice.
- Spoon half of the mixture into the fish and add lemon slices. Seal the fish with toothpicks and rub the remainder of the mixture on both sides of the fish.
- Preheat the grill to high or medium high. Rub half of a raw potato on the grates to prevent the fish from sticking. You can also wrap each fish in aluminum foil.
- Place the fish on the grill grates and grill for 8 minutes on each side flipping only once. It's okay if the skin sticks to the grates.
- Mix the tomato and jalapeno with the herbs, red onion, lemon juice, olive oil and spices. Spoon the tomato herb relish over the fish and serve immediately.
You can grill branzino wrapped in a piece of aluminum foil if you want to make sure the skin stays on. Doing so might reduce the smokiness of the fish, but probably not by much.
The marinade and the tomato relish are perfect for you to use up whatever herbs and vegetables you have sitting in your fridge. You can use green onions, mint or bell peppers if you like.
This grilled Mediterranean branzino is jam packed with flavors and would go perfectly with a number of side dishes including grilled asparagus, Greek lemon rice, Mediterranean grilled vegetables or Mediterranean couscous salad. A classic combination would be this grilled branzino served with Persian sabzi polo, which is a herb rice that's traditionally served with fish.
Frequently asked questions
It's best to enjoy this dish right off the grill. However, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight glass container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
You can use red snapper, flounder or any other whole white fish.
You sure can. Follow the instructions to make the lemon herb mix and marinate the fish for 10 minutes. Then bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes or until it's fully cooked. You'll know the fish is cooked when it flakes easily.
More Fish Recipes
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Mediterranean Grilled Branzino Recipe
- 4 Branzinos cleaned and gutted
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 shallots sliced
- 8 cloved garlic minced
- 1 ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1 cup fresh dill chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper optional
- 3 lemons juice two of them and slice the other one into thin half moons.
Tomato herb relish
- 2 large tomatoes chopped finely
- 1 jalapeno deseeded and chopped finely
- 1 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- ¾ cup parsley chopped
- ½ red onion diced finely
- 1 lemon juice of
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tsp sumac
- Cut 3 slits on the branzino using a sharp knife, you don't need to cut all the way through.
- In a medium sized bowl mix the olive oil with shallots, mince garlic, parsley, dill, Aleppo pepper, salt and lemon juice. Spoon half this mixture inside the branzinos. Place the lemon slices in the cavity of the branzinos and seal it using a couple of toothpicks. Place the branzinos on a baking sheet and spoon the rest of the lemon herb mixture on top.
- While the fish is being marinated, prepare the grill to high. You can use charcoal or gas grill. Rub half of a potato on the grates to avoid the fish sticking.
- Place the branzinos on the grates and grill for about 8 minutes on each side. Flip only once. It's okay if the skin sticks to the grates. Grill the branzino until the skin is brown and crispy and the fish is cooked completely.
- Make the tomato herb relish. In a medium sized bowl mix the tomatoes with the jalapeno, cilantro, parsley, red onion, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and sumac.
- Place the grilled branzino on the platter and top with the tomato herb relish. Serve immediately.
- Serve grilled branzino with the following sides dishes: grilled asparagus, Greek lemon rice, Mediterranean grilled vegetables, Greek salad or Mediterranean couscous salad.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- You can use other fish such as flounder or red snapper for this recipe. Cooking time may vary.
Absolutely loved it for dinner last night! The tomato relish was superb, and the fish was very nice and flaky! Just delicious!
I definitely need to make more fish dishes for my family more often. That tomato relish looks so good with the fish. Going to make this soon.
This grilled fish is perfect.It was so simple to put together and the tomato topping was delicious.
Super flavourful and well balanced Mediterranean fish recipe. Pinned.
This fish was delicious but the tomato herb relish really put it over the top- yum!
Grilled branzino looks amazing! I usually bake it, but will try it grilled next.
This made such a delicious and light dinner! We couldn't get enough and I loved all the Mediterranean flavors. Perfect dish for summer!
Wow this is new for me thanks for the great info on how to do this my husband often goes fishing and brings home so many kinds this will be a must try on one!
What a beautiful grilled fish recipe. I love the balance of flavours
I have never grilled a whole fish before but this post was so well detailed and written it turned out perfect!! The marinade was delicious and so fresh. I can't wait to make this recipe again!
Never had Branzino before, let alone grill a whole fish. Made it today for family and friends and it came out delicious. We pretty much followed your presentation but ours didn’t look as put together. However, for my foodie relatives, it was a hit both looks and taste. Will definitely make this again. Thank you for all your recipes.
Hi Carrie, Glad you enjoyed this recipe, it's a favorite!
Grilled this over the weekend and it came out fantastic. Especially loved the tomato herb relish!
Glad you enjoyed this recipe! It's a favorite!
Let me just say that your presentation is absolutely beautiful! And that tomato herb relish was absolutely to die for!
I have sent this recipe to my husband. He surprised me yesterday with this glorious branzino dish! Thanks!
This was my first time making branzino and this recipe was just fabulous! Easy to put together and so fresh and delicious. Loved that tomato herb topping. YUM!