Branzino, which are shipped from Europe, appear in markets this time of year with their heads, tails, and bones intact. The flesh is a little like striped bass, a meaty fish but not dark fleshed. Though some fishmongers will bone it for you, roast it until the skin is crisp -- tuck a bunch of sauteed lemons into the belly -- and eat with fork and fingers. It's the sweetest fish.
4 whole branzino, heads and tails intact, fish cleaned
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 cut into wedges
1 teaspoon sugar, or more to taste
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Rub the fish all over with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. In a skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the sliced lemons and sprinkle with half the sugar. Cook until the undersides brown. Turn and sprinkle the other sides with sugar. Cook until browned.
3. Tuck the lemons into the fish cavities with the sprigs of thyme. Set the fish in a roasting pan and transfer to the oven.
4. Roast the fish for 20 minutes or until it is cooked through (check by piercing the skin through to the bone to make sure the flesh is opaque). Serve with the lemon wedges. Sheryl Julian
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.