Whole Roasted Fish with Herbs

Whole Roasted Fish
A roasted whole fish is one of the most delicious and easiest meals to prepare–even on a busy work night. Ask your fish monger to clean and gut the fish for you, and this is truly an easy meal to execute. Pictured here is whole roasted branzino on a bed of sauteed chard.


  • 1 whole fish (e.g. striped bass, snapper, salmon, branzini)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, thinly slice
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped (alternatively, any fresh herbs like rosemary, cilantro, etc.)
  • kosher salt, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit / 220 celsius.
  2. Rinse the fish inside and out under cool water and pat dry.
  3. Place the fish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut 3-4 slices into the side of the fish. This is called scoring. Scoring ensures that your fish remains lying flat as it cooks.
  5. Brush the fish with the olive oil inside and out. Be sure to oil both sides.
  6. Generously sprinkle salt on the fish: inside and out.
  7. Place the lemon slices and chopped parsley on the inside of the fish. Overlap the lemon slices slightly to make them fit.
  8. Roast in the oven until the meat of the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 15-20 minutes.
  9. To serve, remove the head and flip open the fish. The

How to Not Screw It Up

  1. Ask your fishmonger to remove the bottom fin. This way, you can slice the belly of the fish open closer to the tail. This exposes more of the interior to the heat of cooking, and also makes it easier to flip open the fish to serve.
  2. To ensure a more even cooking, I suggest putting a small rack on top of your baking sheet. This allows the heat of the oven to fully envelope the fish.
  3. Don’t be lazy and not score the sides of the fish. As the fish gets 400 degrees hot, it will curl up. By scoring the sides, it keeps your fish lying flat through the cooking and serving process.
  4. If the idea of the fish looking back at you makes you wheezy, you can ask your fishmonger to remove the head.