Foodie, Recipes

Mediterranean Herb and Lemon Baked Branzino

By Cooking Mediterranean

Experience the fresh flavors of the Mediterranean with this simple yet elegant Herb and Lemon Baked Branzino. A perfect balance of herbs, citrus, and delicate fish that’s sure to impress.

Embark on a culinary journey to the sun-drenched coasts of the Mediterranean with this **Herb and Lemon Baked Branzino**. This dish is not just a feast for the palate but also a testament to the simplicity and elegance of Mediterranean cooking. Perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion, this recipe brings the essence of the sea to your dining table.

Featuring the freshest Branzino, also known as European seabass, this recipe encapsulates the harmonious blend of herbs and citrus that is characteristic of Mediterranean cuisine. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook, this dish will transport you to a seaside taverna with every bite. Let’s dive into the flavors and techniques that make this dish a true celebration of the Mediterranean lifestyle.

With its **crispy skin and tender flesh**, the Branzino becomes the perfect canvas for the bold flavors of rosemary, thyme, oregano, and lemon. Follow along as we explore how to master this delectable Herb and Lemon Baked Branzino.


  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Knife and cutting board


  • 4 filletsBranzino6 ounces each, about 170 grams
  • 2 tbspolive oil30 ml
  • 4 clovesgarlicminced
  • 1lemonthinly sliced
  • 2 sprigsfresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigsfresh thyme
  • 1 sprigfresh oregano
  • Saltto taste
  • Freshly ground black pepperto taste
  • 1/4 cupdry white wine60 ml


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
  • Pat the Branzino fillets dry with paper towels. This ensures a crispy skin once baked.
  • Arrange the fillets on the prepared baking sheet, skin side down.
  • Drizzle each fillet with olive oil, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Evenly distribute the minced garlic over the fillets, pressing lightly to adhere.
  • Place lemon slices on top of each fillet, followed by a sprig of rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
  • Gently pour the white wine around the fillets on the baking sheet. This will create a subtle aroma and keep the fish moist.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Remove from the oven and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.


For a complete Mediterranean meal, serve this Branzino with a side of quinoa or roasted vegetables.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

The herbs can be adjusted according to preference or availability. Fresh dill or parsley also works well in this recipe.

The Story Behind Herb and Lemon Baked Branzino

The Mediterranean region is renowned for its rich culinary heritage, and this **Herb and Lemon Baked Branzino** is a dish that truly embodies the spirit of the sea. The inspiration for this recipe comes from the coastal towns of the Ligurian Sea, where the tradition of baking fish with local herbs and citrus is deeply rooted in the culture.

In Liguria, the marriage of land and sea is celebrated in the kitchen. The region’s narrow strip of coastal land yields an abundance of aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano, which are staples in local cuisine. These herbs, combined with the freshness of lemons from the terraced citrus groves, create a flavor profile that is both vibrant and comforting.

This particular recipe is a nod to the simplicity and purity of Ligurian cooking. The Branzino, a fish prized for its **mild flavor and delicate texture**, is sourced from the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean. When baked with a carefully curated selection of herbs and lemon, the fish is transformed into a dish that is both rustic and refined.

As you savor each bite, you can imagine the fishermen bringing in their catch, the herb gardens basking in the sun, and the lemon trees swaying in the gentle sea breeze. This Herb and Lemon Baked Branzino is more than just a meal; it’s an experience that connects you to the heart and soul of Mediterranean cuisine.

Mastering the Method

Creating the perfect **Herb and Lemon Baked Branzino** requires more than just following a recipe; it’s about embracing the techniques that bring out the best in the ingredients. Here are some detailed steps and chef’s tips to elevate your dish:

Preparing the Branzino: Start by ensuring your Branzino fillets are completely dry. Moisture is the enemy of crispy skin, so pat them down thoroughly with paper towels. When arranging the fillets on the baking sheet, give them enough space to ensure even cooking and crispiness all around.

Infusing with Herbs: The herbs should be fresh, not just for the superior flavor but also for the way they release their essential oils under the heat. Lay the sprigs directly on the fish, allowing the heat to coax out the aromatic oils, which will permeate the flesh of the Branzino.

Adding the Lemon: Thinly slice the lemon to ensure it cooks at the same rate as the fish. The lemon slices not only add a zesty flavor but also contribute moisture, which helps to keep the fish succulent during the baking process.

Wine as a Flavor Enhancer: The dry white wine creates a steamy environment in the oven, which helps to cook the fish gently. It also adds a subtle depth of flavor that complements the herbs and lemon. Pour it around, not over, the fillets to avoid washing away the seasoning.

Baking to Perfection: The oven should be preheated to the right temperature before the fish goes in. This ensures a quick start to the cooking process, sealing in the flavors. Bake until the fish is just done – overcooking will dry it out. It should flake easily with a fork but still retain its moisture.

Resting Time: Allow the Branzino to rest for a few minutes after baking. This step is crucial as it lets the juices redistribute, ensuring each bite is flavorful and moist.

Variations to the Classic

With a Crust: For an added texture, create a herb crust by mixing breadcrumbs with finely chopped herbs, grated lemon zest, and a touch of olive oil. Spread this mixture over the fillets before baking for a crispy, flavorful topping.

En Papillote: For a more dramatic presentation, bake the Branzino en papillote. Wrap the fillets with herbs and lemon slices in parchment paper parcels. This method steams the fish in its own juices and infuses it with the essence of the added flavors.

Stuffed Whole Branzino: Instead of fillets, use a whole Branzino. Stuff the cavity with lemon slices, whole sprigs of herbs, and garlic. This method allows the flavors to meld inside the fish, creating an even more intense herb and lemon profile.

Ingredient Substitutions

Alternative Citrus: If lemons are not available, try using other citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruits. These will offer a sweeter note, but still provide the necessary acidity to balance the dish.

Different Herbs: While rosemary, thyme, and oregano are traditional, feel free to experiment with other herbs like basil or marjoram. Each herb will impart a unique flavor profile to the Branzino.

Non-Alcoholic Option: If you prefer not to cook with wine, substitute it with a mixture of vegetable broth and a splash of white wine vinegar. This will still add moisture and a hint of acidity to the dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use frozen Branzino fillets? Yes, you can use frozen fillets, but make sure to thaw them completely and pat them dry before baking to achieve the best texture.

How do I know when the fish is done? The Branzino is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) and flakes easily with a fork. Avoid overcooking to maintain its delicate texture.

Can I make this dish ahead of time? It’s best served fresh, but you can prepare the fillets with herbs and lemon, cover, and refrigerate a few hours before baking.

Is this recipe suitable for a gluten-free diet? Yes, as long as you ensure that the wine and any other ingredients used are gluten-free, this dish is suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.

What sides pair well with this dish? Light sides such as a mixed greens salad, roasted vegetables, or a simple quinoa salad complement the flavors of the Branzino without overpowering it.