On Wednesday while I was at school, Zak let me know that he had taken a trip to Whole Foods to pick up some fish and after bs-ing a little bit with the fish monger while purchasing this branzino, the fish monger threw in some free salmon steaks. SCORE! He offered to cook up the salmon steaks on Wednesday and gave me the task of preparing this branzino on Thursday.
It was nice to have a whole day to brainstorm. I knew I wanted to throw the fish on the grill. This Mediterranean fish absorbs smoke beautifully, and the skin crisps up in such a way that I can’t describe its deliciousness. I also wanted to pair it with lemon somehow, but was bored of simply stuffing the cavity and squeezing a few wedges over. Instead, I decided to prepare a lemon sauce. My new immersion blender that my sister-in-law got for us as a shower gift is super handy for whipping up sauces and emulsions, so I decided to make a lemon, Dijon, and oregano emulsion with a touch of mayonnaise for extra creaminess.
This turned out great. Though simple, the smokiness of the sweet-fleshed grilled fish paired perfectly with the lemon-y, creamy emulsion. The emulsion on its own was delicious, and I was happy to have leftovers while making breakfast the next morning – it makes for an excellent substitute for hollandaise, so I’ll post a recipe I made with it soon!
Grilled Whole Branzino with Lemon-Oregano Emulsion
Grilled Whole Branzino:
1 lb. whole branzino, cleaned and scaled
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tbs. dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat a grill, either charcoal or gas.
Using a brush, brush fish, inside and out, with olive oil. Liberally season all sides and center cavity of the fish with oregano, salt, and pepper.
Place on preheated grill and cook 7 minutes per side until flesh is opaque and flakes easily. When flipping the fish, carefully separate the skin of the fish from the grill and flip in one fluid movement. Cover grill once flipped.
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. mayonnaise
1 tbs. dried oregano
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Combine lemon juice, mustard, mayonnaise, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender, food processor, or whisk slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking/blending.
Serve over fish.