5 Ingredients or Fewer

Grilled Branzino with "Greek-Style Fish Sauce"

June  8, 2023
11 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes one branzino (usually serves 2 people)
Author Notes

My brother-in-law is Greek and he is a major food lover and fantastic cook. Inspired by his Greek heritage, he loves all things lemony and bright, especially his "Greek Fish Sauce": A lemony, garlicky fresh sauce that we pour over grilled fish (see my note in the instructions on how much lemon you should use depending on your personal tastes for lemon). This recipe is something that we have as a default now in our family for alfresco dining as we can regularly get fresh whole branzino here now—it is farmed and gains a sweet flavor from the shrimp it eats. The branzino cooks so easily on the grill and I recommend a fish grilling basket for easy flipping.

A note on the lemon—I ask for "one juicy lemon," but I have learned with a Greek brother-in-law (and my husband who doesn't like sour things) that the ratio of lemon to oil in this recipe can be highly variable and depends on your taste. I like mine in approximately the classic vinaigrette ratio of 1 part lemon to 3 parts olive oil.meganvt01

Test Kitchen Notes

Paired here with a summery, bright lemon vinaigrette, the grilled branzino tastes like a perfect summer day. As this is such a crowd-pleasing dish (with easy prep and cooking), we suggest grilling multiple branzini to serve your hungry backyard dinner guests.

What kind of fish is branzino?
Branzino is a white fish, also known as a European sea bass, but in the US it goes by the Italian name—branzino. This Mediterranean sea bass is native to southern and western European coasts, as well as northern African coasts.

What does branzino meat taste like?
Branzino boasts a light, flaky meat with a subtly sweet finish, similar to that of cod or tilapia. Because of its gentle flavor profile, grilled branzino lends itself well to a variety of different flavor combinations, especially those prevalent in the warmer months.

Do you eat the skin of a whole branzino?
Grilling whole branzino allows the skin to get delightfully crispy while keeping the delicate interior moist. Eat the grilled branzino skin as-is, or choose to fold it back when the time comes for serving—both are valid options.

What is difference between branzino and branzini?
Branzini is the plural of branzino. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • For the whole grilled branzino:
  • 1 whole branzino (ask your fishmonger to scale and gut it)
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 lemon, sliced, plus more for serving
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the "Greek Fish Sauce":
  • 1 very juicy lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed once
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Prepare the branzino: Salt and pepper the branzino on the exterior and interior. Stuff the branzino cavity with oregano and lemon slices. Drizzle the outside of the branzino with olive oil.
  2. Make your fish sauce: Combine the lemon, olive oil, oregano, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the sauce stand while you grill the branzino.
  3. Grill the branzino: Preheat your grill to medium-high whether using gas or charcoal. Grill the branzino for approximately 5 minutes per side or until you can place a knife in the branzino and the meat flakes away along the top of the branzino. (The flesh should be opaque.) Serve the grilled branzino with the fish sauce and some extra lemon slices.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sarah Bradley
    Sarah Bradley
  • Danielle Booth
    Danielle Booth
  • Beatrice Lee
    Beatrice Lee
  • jmmunoz501”

Recipe by: meganvt01


7 Reviews

Beatrice L. August 18, 2023
Simple and delicious! I like the oregano herb lemon “sauce” for the cooked fish. I stuffed the branzino with halved sliced lemons so they fit the belly better. I also tied the fish so the lemons won’t fall out. Finally, I grilled some cherry tomatoes on a skewer and placed on the cooked open-faced fish.
jmmunoz501” February 7, 2022
This recipe is absolutely perfect. We’ve made the Branzino exactly as suggested in this recipe and our friends and family have all said it was the best seafood dish they’ve ever had!
Glynn B. September 16, 2020
So delicious! Think it would be just as good broiled, for those of us who live in places where we can't grill year round.
Sarah B. May 15, 2017
With a Greek finance, this gets two GIANT thumbs up. His mom grills whole branzino frequently and I wanted to give it a shot. This was perfect!
Mickey0627 July 11, 2016
So simple, yet so incredible! Served it with a greek salad, yummy!
Danielle B. July 26, 2015
I added capers to the sauce, was not disappointed. Soooo good!
culture_connoisseur July 19, 2015
I love this recipe! I didn't have white fish so made it with salmon, fresh oregano and lemon from the garden. It was served over steamed rice, which the sauce flavored nicely.