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Branzino on a plate with Vierge Sauce made of tomatoes, capers, shallots, olives and basil

Mediterranean Branzino Filet Recipe with Vierge Sauce

  • Author: lechefswife
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Oven baked
  • Cuisine: French


Delicate Branzino with a bright vinaigrette of tomatoes, olives and basil give a Provençal twist to your dish. Super simple yet impressive! A delicious Mediterranean Diet dish.



For the Branzino:

  • 2 whole Branzino. Ask the fish counter to fillet the Branzino and remove the scales. You can choose to leave the skin on or have it removed. I like to leave it on, the skin is tasty and easy to eat. *if the Branzino are larger you may only need 1 fillet per person
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 1 orange for zesting

For the Vierge Sauce:

  • 1 Shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of chives, finely chopped
  •  1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup of pitted Niçois or Kalamata black olives, halved
  • 2 tbsps of capers (left whole if it is the small kind), if it is the full caper berry, halve or quarter depending the size
  • 1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons roasted pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Trim the edges of your Branzino fillet for a clean presentation using a sharp knife. Make four diagonal incisions in the skin of each fillet.
  3. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil on the cooking sheet. Gently place the Branzino Filets next to each other on the sheet, skin side down.
  4. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil over the top of the filets with a pinch of sea salt.
  5. Set the cooking sheet on the top rack of the oven. Set timer for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, it is time to make the sauce Vierge.
  7. Mix the shallot, green onions, chives, cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, basil, pine nuts together in a mixing bowl with the 3/4 cup of olive oil. 
  8. Zeste one lemon into the Vierge Sauce. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into the sauce using a strainer to avoid lemon seeds getting into your Vierge! Mix and set aside. (Le Chef's note: Vierge sauce is even better made a couple hours in advance, the shallots lose their acidity when resting in the olive oil)
  9. Once the 10 minutes are up, check on the Branzino. The fish should have an opaque white color. The cooking time may vary given the size of the fish. If the flesh still looks a little rosy in color in the center, set it back in the oven for another 2 minutes, keeping a close eye.
  10. Once the Branzino is cooked, carefully remove it from the cooking tray with a thin, long, spatula.
  11. Place 2 filets per person in the center of each plate.
  12. Top each whole Branzino with a fine dusting of orange zest (it adds a beautiful citrus note to the fish), about 1/4 of the orange per filet.
  13. Spoon 1/4 cup of Vierge Sauce over  the filets on each plate.
  14. Serve immediately.

Bon Appétit!



What to ask for at the Fish counter:

Ask your fish monger (at your local grocery store or speciality fish shop) to prepare your whole, fresh Branzino as follows:

  • fillet (you will get 2 filets per fish which is perfect for one person)
  • descale
  • remove the bones

Don't be afraid to ask these requests at your fish counter - often they are very happy to do it!

What to serve with this dish: Spring Asparagus with a Champagne Citrus Vinaigrette

or La Salade Mentonnaise.

How else to serve Vierge Sauce

I love to make an extra batch of Vierge Sauce to keep for a couple days in the fridge. Bright and citrusy with a little bit of tang from the shallots, Sauce Vierge is delicious over oven-baked Salmon, Tuna steak or Grilled Chicken breast and is a great base for a tasty vegetarian pasta salad.

Branzino with Vierge Sauce is a delicious dish that adheres to the Mediterranean Diet as defined by the Mayo Clinic. Lean protein, lots of vegetables and healthy fats from the olives and olive oil while being incredibly delicious.

If you are on the Mediterranean Diet you might also enjoy my other recipes:

Keywords: Branzino, Vierge Sauce, French Food, Fish, Simple recipes