Pranzino felicissimo – Branzino ripieno

I don’t know you, but a good meal,”me met de bonne humeur“! It totally makes me happy, and lifts up my mood…since Mr. F is traveling to Europe for a couple of weeks, I am taking this time off to treat myself with meals I love, just like this one. I love to eat a whole fish, and remove the bones, each bite has a very distinct flavor. To be honest, I don’t particularly enjoy looking at the dead animal on my plate looking at me with his round eye not so fresh anymore, so I try not to focus too much on this part in order not to spoil the whole process of enjoyment.

So let’s go back to this delicious branzino, it’s a very delicate fish mainly found in the Mediterranean basin or in the Atlantic. It’s called branzino in the Adriatic sea and Liguria (in English, they say branzini, the “i” makes it plural in Italian). In the other parts of Italy it’s called spigola. Branzino is light and can be prepared in so many different ways (roasted, steamed, papillote, grilled, etc…) without losing it’s flavor, so it’s quite a wonderful fish.

Ingredients for 2

  • 2 whole branzini, cleaned
  • 6 tbs panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tbs kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1.5 tbs mixed herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon, etc…), chopped
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1.5 tbs pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tbs olive oil, or enough to coat the crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • lemon oil


In a mixing bowl mix breadcrumbs, olives, lemon zest, herbs, garlic, pine nuts, oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and stuff each branzino with this stuffing. Using two tooth picks close branzino sides to keep the stuffing in place. Sprinkle each branzino with oil, salt and pepper. Place in a sheet and broil at high temperature until slightly browned and side cooked. Carefully, without breaking the fish, turn it on the other side, and let it brown. Remove from oven, and serve in a plate. Place some quartered tomatoes and red onions around the fish, add tarragon leaves, sprinkle with lemon oil, salt and pepper and eat warm