A Whole Roasted Fish Inspired By Holidays By the Sea

OOO is on.

By Casey McKee
whole roasted fish

Whether you’re headed to Europe this summer, or simply dreaming of a getaway, a dinner inspired by the South of France is always a good idea. Rebekah Peppler shared her entire French Girl dinner party menu with recipes from her new book Le Sud, and it’s proof that so often, simple is best. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or romancing your weeknight meals, Peppler’s whole-roasted fish delivers flavor to transport you to the Mediterranean.

“A whole roasted fish, all to yourself, may conjure holidays by the sea,” says Peppler. She’s enjoyed many such memories on the Côte d’Azur, “toes in sand, rosé all around, house music doing what it does, out-of-office on.”

whole roasted fish

Tips for Making a Whole Roasted Fish

“For the most ease, ask your fishmonger to clean and scale whatever is freshest and make this version, prettily stuffed with lemon slices and a simple pistou,” says Peppler. This recipe doesn’t require a plethora of ingredients—it’s seasoned sipmly with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and a touch of citrus zest. This ensures that the delicacy can be enjoyed in its purest form. A good-quality olive oil is also an addition to this fish recipe that works to enhance the natural flavor and tenderness of your choice of fish.

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whole roasted fish

Whole Roasted Fish

  • Author: Rebekah Peppler


This whole roasted fish recipe is from Le Sud, and inspired by Rebekah Peppler’s time spent on the Côte d’Azur. It’s the perfect way to welcome summer, wherever you are.


Units Scale
  • 9 tablespoons [135 ml] extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup [120 ml] A Very Classic Pistou (recipe follows)
  • 2 lemons
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Six 1 pound [455 g] whole sea bass, branzino, or rainbow trout, cleaned and scaled
  • Flaky sea salt

A Very Classic Pistou (Makes ½ cup [120 ml])

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 cups [75 g] basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup [80 ml] extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F [240°C].
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the shallots and cook, stirring, until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Stir in the pistou and the lemon zest from one of the lemons. Season with fine sea salt and pepper.
  3. Pat the fish dry and season with fine sea salt and pepper, inside and out. Thinly slice one of the lemons; remove and discard the seeds. Stuff each fish cavity with 3 or 4 lemon slices, then tuck 1 to 1½ tablespoons of the shallot-pistou mixture into each cavity and arrange the fish in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle each fish with a tablespoon of the remaining olive oil and place in the oven. Roast until the flesh is opaque and flaky, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges and serve with the fish.

For the Pistou

If you are making the pistou with a mortar and pestle:

  1. Place the garlic and salt in a mortar and grind until a paste forms. Add the basil leaves by the handful
    and pound them, scraping the sides of the mortar often, until they are almost smooth and all the basil is
    incorporated. Slowly add the oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, smashing until it’s all combined. Season with
    salt to taste.

If you are making the pistou with a blender:

  1. Place the garlic cloves in the blender and pulse until roughly chopped. Add the salt and basil and pulse, scraping the sides of the blender often, until nearly smooth. With the blender running, slowly pour in the oil until it’s all combined. Season with salt. The pistou can be made and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in

Comments (6)

  1. Mike Scott says:

    Where is the Pistou?

    1. Casey McKee says:

      Hi! The Pistou recipe has now been included!

  2. Cindy Fullbright says:

    Can’t find the pistou recipe!

    1. Casey McKee says:

      The Pistou recipe is now included!

  3. Summer Berry says:

    The pistou recipe is missing! please add it in!

    1. Casey McKee says:

      Hi! The Pistou recipe has been added, cheers!

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