Branzino is one of my favorite types of fish. It is flaky and subtle, and it takes on flavors quite well. Recently, I smoked it with rosemary from our garden. The results were a buttery, smoky flavor with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. When you buy branzino, ask your fishmonger to gut and clean it for you. If you can’t find branzino, trout is a fine substitution. Note: On the English version of most Italian menus it’s called sea bass, but it’s really branzino.

Serves 4


  1. Rinse the fish under cold water, pat dry, and place in a glass dish.
  2. Combine the thyme, chopped rosemary, salt, oil, and the juice of 1 lemon in a small bowl, and massage this seasoning into the fish on both sides. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour.
  3. Start your grill, and heat until the coals are white (about 1 hour). Stuff the cavity of each fish with slices of lemon, then place the fish on the grill, with a bunch of rosemary stems alongside, and close the grill lid. Smoke should start forming, but do not open the grill for 5 minutes. This will ensure the smoky flavor of the rosemary permeates the fish.
  4. After 5 minutes, gently turn the fish and grill the other side for 10 minutes, uncovered. Add more rosemary if it has burned off. Watch to make sure the fish doesn’t burn.
  5. Remove the fish, garnish with slices of the remaining lemons, and serve warm.