Grilled Branzino with Lemon and Olives
For the topping:
20 pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 to 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
40 grinds of pepper mill
For the fish:
2 juicy lemons
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 whole branzinos, filleted
Prepare the topping:
Place the olives and parsley in a small bowl and drizzle with the olive oil until the ingredients are well coated. Grind in the pepper, which will temper the saltiness of the olives. Mix well and set aside.
Prepare the fish:
Light your grill or grill pan and let it get very, very hot.
Squeeze the lemons on the platter you intend to use to serve the fish. Add the olive oil, salt, and oregano. Swirl it around and lick your finger to taste. Adjust the seasoning. You want it lemony, but with enough salt and olive oil to temper the lemons.
Dry your fish really, really well with paper towels. Drying the skin will prevent it from sticking to the pan. This is important. Cook the fish for about 4 to 5 minutes skin-side down until you get some nice grill marks and golden skin. Your skin might stick until it is nice and cooked, so just chill out. (If you find that your skin is sticking completely for some reason, just drizzle a little oil on the side of it while it cooks. That will help loosen it up.)
Flip it over and cook for about 2 minutes on the other side, until you see golden marks on the flesh
Place fish flesh-side down on the prepared lemon platter and let it sit for 5 minutes, to soak in the juices. Before serving, flip the fish over and spoon some of the lemony juices over it. Top with a nice spoonful or two of the olive mixture. (Alternatively, you can serve it skin side up, which is quite pretty.)
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Make Ahead Prep: This fish will not dry out while it sits in the lemon juice, so it’s ok to prepare it a couple of hours ahead and serve at room temperature.
Serves 2 to 4