Persian Style stuffed branzino is a very special recipe that's bursting with amazing flavors. The filling includes walnuts and pomegranates which gives it a great crunch and taste!
We have many delicious holiday main dishes and Nowruz recipes and today, I'm sharing on of my all-time favorites with you. Here is a special dish for Yalda which is also commonly served for Persian New Year - Nowruz. This is the way we always prepare fish this time of year. It's one of our favorite recipes.
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Making a whole fish is easy!
One of the things I love about Persian recipes is that there is always room for creativity. And now that Nowruz is around the corner, it's time to bring out a delicious fish recipe, too. Since Nowruz is a special time of the year for us Iranians, we try to go above and beyond with the fish preparation which will be the main meal of the New Year.
That's why in my family, we usually make a whole fish and we usually use branzino because of its tender flesh and mild flavor. If you like branzino, make sure to check out our grilled branzino recipe, it's so tasty!
In addition to fish, there are so many different recipes we make around Nowruz, including favorites like Ash Reshteh, Kuku Sabzi and Sabzi Polo. You can learn more about Persian New Year by reading my piece on Nowruz and everything about it.
Ingredients To Make Stuffed Branzino
- Branzino: I usually get one branzino per person and ask the person at the counter to clean the insides so I can stuff it with the filling after roasting.
- Onion and garlic: Used to marinate the fish and to make the filling.
- Spices: You need salt, pepper and turmeric for this recipe.
- Lemon: For a bit of freshness and bright flavor!
- Bell pepper: Use red, yellow or orange bell pepper for the filling.
- Herbs: Dried rosemary and thyme work best for this recipe.
- Walnuts: They add a good crunch to the filling and go well with the fish.
- Barberries: They are small red berries used in Iranian dishes such as zereshk polo. You can find them in Persian or Middle Eastern stores as well as online.
- Pomegranate molasses: Adds a nice tart flavor to the filling that balances the fish. Find it in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or Persian stores. It's also available online.
How To Pick The Right Fish For Persian Stuffed Fish Recipe
For this Persian fish recipe you need one whole fish for each person. Branzino is a great choice for this recipe as it's tasty and, when cooked, it's flaky and easy to handle.
When choosing the branzino, keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure the eyes are bright and not foggy or dark.
- If poked, the flesh should bounce back.
- Fresh branzino should not smell "fishy".
- The skin should be plump and shiny with no missing scales.
How To Make Stuffed Branzino
- Start by marinating the fish with lemon juice, olive oil, onion, and spices. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Bake in the oven at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes until fully cooked. .
- While the fish is roasting in the oven, make the filling. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add in the bell pepper as well as rosemary and thyme. Season with salt, pepper and turmeric. Add in the walnuts and barberries. Finish with pomegranate molasses and set aside.
- Once the fish is fully roasted, stuff it with the filling and serve immediately.
What Do You Serve Stuffed Branzino With
You can serve stuffed branzino with many side dishes. Here are a few suggestions:
- Rice dishes: Sabzi polo, dill rice, spanakorizo or Greek lemon rice.
- Potatoes: Greek potatoes, roasted potatoes or Greek baked fries.
- Salads: Green bean salad, Greek salad, Mediterranean salad or roasted cauliflower salad.
Leftovers and Reheating
Like any other seafood dish, this branzino recipe is best served immediately. However, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat in a pan, covered, over medium heat for about 15 minutes until heated through.
Frequently asked questions
Transfer the stuffed branzino to your plate and start from one side of the fish. I usually don't eat the skin but the flesh and the filling are absolutely tasty. Make sure to separate the bones.
Yes, you can marinate the fish and refrigerate it up to 6 hours in advance. You can also prepare the filling a day in advance.
While not exactly the same, chopped dried cranberries can be used in place of barberries.
More Fish and Seafood Recipes
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Stuffed Fish with Pomegranates and Walnuts - Persian Style
- 4 whole branzino clean the insides
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lemon juice of
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- ½ tablespoon dried rosemary
- ½ tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ cup barberries see notes
- ¾ cup walnuts chopped
- 3 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- Rub the olive oil on both sides of fish and cover generously with salt, pepper and turmeric.
- Put the fish in a dish and add onion and garlic, mix so the onion is all over the fish.
- Cover and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with 2 layers of parchment paper.
- Put the fish on the baking sheet (No need to put the onion) and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes until it's fully cooked.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute the onion for a few minutes until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add the bell pepper followed by the dried rosemary and thyme. Saute for another minute. Season with salt, pepper and turmeric.
- Add in the barberries and walnuts followed by the pomegranate molasses.
- Lower the heat and let everything cook for 2-3 minutes until flavors are fully combined. Adjust the sourness and saltiness as desired.
- Stuff the fish with the filling and add the remaining filling on top of the fish.
- Top with pomegranate and serve with rice, potatoes or greens.
- Find barberries and pomegranate molasses at Persian, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean shops as well as online.
- It's best to serve this dish immediately, however, you can store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat in a pan (covered) over medium heat for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Serve this dish with sabzi polo for Nowruz (Persian New Year).