Salt-Roasted Branzino

This Michael Chiarello recipe has been on my list for months. Every time I think about making it, I can’t find the right fish! I just needed “the best white-fleshed fish in the market”. Sounds easy enough. A snapper, or sea bass. Maybe bream. Today we found a snapper.

The recipe is detailed. I will share the highlights here.


  • 1 whole fish, about 14 inches long, 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus 5 lemons halved
  • Sea salt, prefer gray
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 6 pounds kosher salt
  • 6 cups water, more as needed

Preheat oven to 500. Clean fish, run under cold water and pat dry. Layer sliced lemons inside the fish, overlapping them. Season inside and out with pepper, salt and olive oil.

Pour salt in a large bowl, add water one cup at a time. Mix (like you are prepping sand for a sand castle, fluff like snow). In 9×13 pan, layer the fluff salt. Place fish on top. Cover the fish with remaining salt, press in place with hands. Place the lemons in the pan, drizzle again with olive oil. Roast 20 minutes or until the thermometer reads 140. Break open the salt…enjoy! (Chef Chirarello’s suggests champagne).

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Author: sheilashultz

Search marketer by day, full-time Mom by night...always looking for ways to find a few moments of "me" time.

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