Roasted Whole Branzini

I don't think I've seen Branzini, also known as Branzino, being sold in a market here before. So, when I came across it at Whole Foods today, I couldn't pass it up.  Seems like I recall reading about it roasted whole a lot and there's even a restaurant named after it in downtown Seattle.  I'm cooking mine tonight following the herd and roasting it whole with a simple preparation.

1 Whole Branzini, about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds
1 Small lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
2 Sprigs fresh rosemary
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
4-6 Garlic cloves, depending on size
2 Tablespoons brandy
1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

The branzini should come gutted and cleaned.  Make sure it is scaled as well.  
Make about 4 small diagonal cuts on the outside of each side of the fish.  
Salt and pepper the inside of the fish.
Smash 2-3 garlic cloves and put into the inside of the fish along with a few slices of lemon, a few sprigs of thyme, 1 sprig of rosemary. 
Take 2-3 garlic cloves and slice into ⅛" slices.  Stuff into the cuts on the outside of the fish.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon each of the brandy and olive oil into the bottom of a roasting dish.  
Lay a few slices of lemon on top. 
Salt and pepper the fish and lay it on top of the lemon.
Drizzle remaining brandy and olive oil over top of fish.
Salt and pepper the top.
Lay remaining lemon, rosemary and thyme around the fish.

Heat oven to 450f. Roast the fish for about 5 minutes and then turn over and roast for another 7-9 minutes until skin begins to crisp and fish is cooked through.  Use a toothpick to see if the meat will pull apart easily.
I loved this fish!  Really fresh and clean.  So good.


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