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Branzino with Sauce Vierge

Branzini with Sauce Vierge

Branzino with Sauce Vierge is a great way to introduce yourself to cooking fresh fish. This recipe is made with fresh Branzino seasoned with garlic, salt, and pepper and roasted to perfection and served with the Sauce Vierge – a bright and tangy, offsetting the richness of the Branzino.

This roasted Branzino with Sauce Vierge is perfect for Sunday dinner. It’s light, delicious, and also very easy to make. And it’s not only suitable for dinner since this recipe can also be served as lunch.

What is Branzino

The Branzino is a firm, white fish commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. Its mild, slightly sweet-tasting flesh makes it highly prized for fine dining as well as for home cooking. It pairs perfectly with our Sauce Vierge recipe. The sauce, which is made from an assortment of fresh tomatoes, herbs, and extra virgin olive oil, tastes great drizzled over the fish or potatoes.

Branzini with Sauce Vierge
Branzino with Sauce Vierge

What is Sauce Vierge

From our preview blog post, it’s a vinaigrette made with just chopped tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh herbs, along with a splash of lemon juice and zest. The ingredients are tossed together before being served and can be used to dress grilled meat or fish.

Sauce Vierge is a quick and easy way to add some flavor to your food. It’s great on sandwiches, salads, and even grilled chicken. It was created and popularized by the great French chef Michel Guérard and is a famous example of his cuisine minceur, a lighter spin on traditional nouvelle cuisine. (https://www.masterclass.com/articles/chef-thomas-kellers-sauce-vierge-recipe)

Sauce Vierge
Sauce Vierge

The ingredients for Branzino with Sauce Vierge

I’m a fan of simple recipes. There’s no better time to cook something plain, with few ingredients, than when you’re tired and hungry in the evening. This recipe is great because not only is it fast, healthy, and flavorful, but it’s also extremely easy to make. Here is what you need:

For the Branzino

  • Whole Branzino (2) scaled and gutted: if you can buy fresh whole fish.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: always the best brand
  • Kosher or Sea salt and freshly ground pepper: to season the fish
  • Garlic Cloves: fresh whole garlic to add freshness
  • Lemon
  • Small bunch of thyme and parsley sprigs
Branzino with Sauce Vierge
Branzino with Sauce Vierge

For the Sauce Vierge

Tomatoes: peeled, cored, and diced. You can use either Campari, Heirloom, Roma, Cherry, or Grape tomatoes.
Vinegar of your choice: rice wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, balsamic or white wine vinegar
Shallots, minced: red onion or regular white onion.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: this is the best oil you should use for this recipe. You can also use a lemon-infused oil or any other citrusy-infused olive oil.
Sea salt: Himalayan or Fleur du Sel is also great. Make sure that the salt is acceptable so it can resolve quickly.
Ground Black Pepper: fresh is always better.
Fresh herbs: always use fresh herbs. Your options are parsley, basil, chives, tarragon, and my watercress. Although watercress is a leafy vegetable that is mostly in salads and stews, its slightly bitter and peppery taste goes wonderfully with lemon juice and olive oil.
Fresh lemon juice: is also a must. Do not substitute with bottled lemon juice. It won’t have the same fresh taste.
Lemon zest: this adds a fresh lemon taste that goes well with fresh tomatoes and olive oil.

How to make the recipe Branzino with Sauce Vierge

Prepare the fish for roasting. Clean, scale, and gut, rinse with water, and pat dry. The fish is then seasoned with oil, salt, and pepper. The cavity is stuffed with fresh herbs, garlic slices, and lemon slices. Roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. (cooking time may be slightly less or more depending on the size of the fish.)

The Sauce Vierge is prepared by mixing all the ingredients and served with the roasted Branzino.

Branzino with Sauce Vierge

Notes and tips for the Branzino with Sauce Vierge

  • If you cannot find a whole Branzino, you can substitute it with branzino fillet, whole red snapper, salmon, or any other firm fish.
  • You can prepare the sauce in advance and store it in the refrigerator until the fish is ready to be served.
  • Serve this delicious dish with any types of grains, salads, or potatoes.

Branzini with Sauce Vierge

Branzino with Sauce Vierge

This roasted branzino with sauce Vierge is perfect for Sunday dinner. It's light, delicious, and also very easy to make.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4
Calories 823 kcal


Ingredients for the Branzino

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds whole branzino scaled and gutted
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for rubbing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves sliced thin
  • 1 lemon sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 small bunch of garlic and thyme sprigs

Ingredients for the Sauce Vierge

  • 3 large tomatoes ripe, about 1 1/2 pounds, diced
  • 2 shallots chopped or minced
  • 2 whole garlic cloves smashed
  • 3 tbsp parsley chopped
  • 2 tbsp watercress roughly chopped
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or to taste
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp grated lemon zest optional


To make the Branzino

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Clean and rinse the fish and pat dry; rub cavity and skin with oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with garlic slices, lemon slices, and a few thyme sprigs. Transfer to a prepared rimmed baking sheet.
  • Roast until the fish is just cooked, 25 to 30 minutes, depending on size.
  • Serve the fish hot and topped with Sauce Vierge.

To make the Sauce Vierge

  • Place the diced tomatoes and minced shallots into a mixing bowl.
  • Add enough olive oil to coat and absorb into the tomatoes thoroughly.
  • Gently fold in the chopped parsley and watercress and season with salt, black pepper, vinegar, lemon zest, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • You can make and serve this tasty dish in just a few minutes.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning
  • After mixing the sauce, place the mixture into a saucepan and gently bring it to a boil. Only cook for about 1-2 minutes, just enough time for ingredients to flavor each other. This sauce is not meant to be fully cooked.
  • Serve the Sauce Vierge with the Roasted Branzino


For the Roasted Branzino

  • If you cannot find a whole Branzino, you can substitute it with branzino fillet, whole red snapper, salmon, or any other firm fish.
  • You can prepare the sauce in advance and store it in the refrigerator until the fish is ready to be served.
  • Serve this delicious dish with any types of grains, salads, or potatoes.

For the Sauce Vierge

  • This recipe makes about 2 cups of sauce.
  • Like the French, the natural way to make this sauce is with fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, tarragon, and chives. But when you don’t have those herbs available, you improvise.
  • Use at room temperature.
  • Serve with grilled or roasted vegetables, poultry, pork, red meat, pasta, and even crusty or flatbread.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator when ready to serve.
  • Bring to room temperature before serving or gently warm the sauce on the stovetop, but do not simmer.


Calories: 823kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 33gFat: 72gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 50gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 136mgPotassium: 956mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2068IUVitamin C: 45mgCalcium: 145mgIron: 6mg

Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.

Keyword 30 minutes meals, baked fish recipe, branzini, branzino, easy fish recipe
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Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.

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Corn Allergy:

Always choose ingredients without corn or corn derivatives.

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