Grilled Branzino with Rosemary Vinaigrette
Grilled Branzino with Rosemary Vinaigrette

Whether you’re already a fan of branzino or new to it, you’ll love this grilled branzino recipe! Grill this fish whole and serve with a flavorful rosemary vinaigrette made with just a handful of ingredients.

What is Branzino?

Branzino. Kind of sounds like the name of a 1940s prizefighter, doesn’t it? If it’s well known, it’s because this fish shows up in American supermarkets. Also known as European sea bass, now farmed throughout the Mediterranean, this fish has been a sought-after item on European menus since the days of ancient Rome.

The bred strain began appearing on American restaurant menus in the early 2000s as European farms ramped up production.

How can you tell if Branzino is fresh?

Branzino, as the fish is known in northern Italy, generally costs around a pound and is almost always sold whole and gutted. That’s a good thing, because it’s much easier to tell if a fish is fresh if it still has eyes and gills.

Here’s what you’re looking for:

  • Bright clear eyes
  • Bright red gills
  • Avoid Fish with sunken red eyes and brownish gills. That means the fish has come off.

We found ours at Whole Foods quite by accident – I saw the whole fish in the box and was immediately seduced by the sight of a whole fish with sparkling clear eyes. I had to have it.

If you ever see a wild branzino for sale in the United States, it’ll cost you at least $30 a pound — and I’ve only seen one in a market once, and that was at the Fulton Fish Market in New York City.

Can’t find Branzino?

No problem. Midwesterners actually have the perfect alternative in walleye. The taste, texture and bone structure are almost identical.

Other great alternatives would be Pacific Rock Cod, Atlantic Black Sea Bass, a Large Quaker or Small Red Drum or Striped Bass. Basically, you want a whole fish (scaled and gutted, of course) that’s about the size of a platter.

Purists only eat their branzino with salt and lemon. We created a rosemary vinaigrette that goes really well with the fish. Simply drizzle on top when serving.

What to serve with branzino

This grilled fish recipe goes well with crusty bread and a glass of pilsner or white wine.

Incidentally, the vinaigrette for this recipe also goes great with potatoes, chicken or turkey – or simply over a tossed salad.


Check out this grilled branzino recipe

Tips for preparing branzino

Follow these tips for a successful grilled branzino.

  • First wash the fish under cold water and pat dry.
  • Remove any remaining gills or scales on the branzino.
  • Use a very sharp knife when cutting slits in the fish. A dull knife will result in ragged slits that won’t look as elegant when the fish is placed on the table.
  • Don’t forget to prepare the grill before grilling the fish. Make sure it’s clean from previous uses.

Serve the grilled branzino

Using a spatula or fork, lift the meat off the bones and place on plates. Work outwards from the centerline of the fish towards the fins and angle back towards the tail.

More grilled fish recipes to try!

  • Grilled trout with dill and lemon
  • Grilled salmon with peach salsa
  • Grilled Fish Tacos with Strawberry Pineapple Salsa
  • Grilled swordfish steaks with lemon oregano marinade
  • Simply grilled salmon

From the editors of Simply Recipes

Grilled branzino with rosemary vinaigrette

preparation time
15 minutes

cooking time
10 mins

total time
25 minutes

2 servings

If you can’t find Branzino, try walleye, Pacific cod or a large Atlantic black bass.

Fresh rosemary is preferred for this recipe, but you can substitute 1 heaped teaspoon of dried rosemary if needed.


  • 2 tablespoon Onionchopped

  • 1 teaspoon DIjon Mustard

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 big garlic clovechopped

  • 1 accumulate tablespoon fresh rosemarychopped

  • 1/2 Cup Extra virgin olive oilplus more to coat the fish

  • 1 all Branzino

  • Saltpreferably sea salt


  1. Make the Rosemary Vinaigrette:

    Place the chopped onion, mustard, salt, vinegar, garlic and rosemary in a blender and blend for about 30 seconds. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender and blend again for 10 to 20 seconds. Scrape the sides back down.

    Turn the blender to low and remove the removable cap from the lid. Hold your hand over the hole as it might spit a little. Slowly pour in the olive oil and put the lid back on.

    Turn off the blender and scrape the sides down again. Turn the mixer back on low, then high for 60 seconds.

  2. Prepare the fish:

    Rinse the fish under cold water. Now make sure all gills and scales are removed; Your fishmonger isn’t always so diligent at this task, and no one wants a scale on their plate. Gills can give the fish a bitter taste, so they need to go too.

  3. Make cuts on the sides of the fish:

    Using a very sharp knife, make several cuts down the sides of the fish, maybe every inch or so. Make the cuts at an angle to the side of the fish and cut down until you feel the spine. However, do not separate the spine. These cuts will help the fish cook faster. Rub the whole fish with olive oil and set aside.

  4. Prepare the grill for high, direct heat:

    Scrape the grates well and close the lid. Salt the fish well. Now grab a paper towel, tongs, and some cheap vegetable oil. Put it all on the grill.

    Fold the paper towel several times, dampen it with the vegetable oil, and hold with tongs to wipe down the cooking grates.

  5. Grill fish:

    Place the fish on the grill and close the lid. Let this cook for 5 minutes without touching it.

    Open the lid and use tongs to carefully check if you can lift the fish cleanly off the grid. Don’t actually do this, instead look for sticky spots. If you have any, get a metal spatula. Use the spatula to loosen the fish from the sticky spots.

    Using tongs in one hand and spatula in the other, gently turn the fish over. If it sticks, no problem. It happens sometimes.

  6. Grill the fish:

    After the fish has been turned, let it cook for another 3-5 minutes with the lid closed. Test again for sticky spots with the tongs and spatula. Gently loosen them and gently lift the fish onto a plate.

    If the fish is too long or looks like it will break in half, use two metal spatulas instead of the tong-and-spatula arrangement.

  7. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the fish and serve immediately:

    Goes well with crusty bread and a glass of Pilsner or white wine.

nutritional information (per serving)
555 calories
55g Fat
2g carbohydrates
12g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!