We met a lovely woman named Janelle in Fire Island this summer who invited us to lunch at her house. As we sat on the deck eating grilled chicken and drinking wine, she told me about her favorite whole fish recipe. "You'll remember this," she said. "It's from Stanley Tucci." Last week I ordered two whole branzinos from Fresh Direct (they were on sale and seemed summery) and then remembered the recipe. I googled Stanley Tucci Fish and sure enough found it. I've grilled a whole fish before but never tried the roasting thing. It's super easy and yummy, and if you're okay with occasional bones, a beautiful presentation and meal.
Stanley Tucci's Whole Roasted Branzino
1 (1 ½ pound) whole branzino, cleaned, gutted, and scales removed
Fine sea salt
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 lemons, thinly sliced, plus additional for serving
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for serving
20 cherry tomatoes
¾ cup dry white wine
Preheat oven to 500˚F. Season both sides and the cavity of fish with salt. Arrange the 3 cloves garlic, lemon slices, rosemary, thyme, and parsley inside cavity.
In a large roasting pan, add olive oil. Transfer fish to pan. Toss in cherry tomatoes and remaining garlic in pan. Add ½ cup wine. Place pan in oven and cook, turning once and adding remaining wine, until skin becomes crispy, about 10 minutes. (To test for doneness, insert a metal skewer into the middle of fish for 5 seconds. Remove the skewer and if warm, then fish is cooked).
Transfer fish to serving plate. Arrange roasted tomatoes and lemon slices alongside fish, and drizzle with pan juices. Serve immediately.