Garlic-Rubbed Filet of Branzini with Meyer Lemon Aioli


  • 4 filets of Branzini (Mediterranean Sea Bass) or other firm white fish, about 2 pounds total
  • 2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, plus more for garnish 10 large cloves of garlic, grated (try the SuperGrater)
  • Coarse Kosher salt such as Morton
  • Freshly ground pepper Meyer lemon, sliced into wedges
  • Meyer Lemon Aioli, optional (see below)

Juice and zest from 1 large Meyer lemon, about 3 tablespoons 6-8 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped about ¼ cup 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 whole egg 1 egg yolk 1 ½ cups vegetable oil, plus a little extra if needed 1 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil ½ teaspoon kosher salt


Grilling Method: Combo/Medium Heat

Rinse fish, pat dry and set aside. Mix oil and grated garlic together to form a paste. Add a couple of pinches of salt and mix well. Coat each filet evenly with garlic paste. Season with pepper. Lay fish, skin side down, directly on the cooking grate over Direct heat for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the skin. Turn the burner off or move to an area of Indirect heat. Cook until fish is opaque but still moist, about 12 more minutes, depending on the thickness of fish. If you want the top of the fish to char, sear over direct heat just before it is done. Otherwise, do not turn during the cooking time.

Supporting fish with a wide metal spatula, transfer to a platter by sliding the spatula underneath the skin and the flesh. Serve skin-side up with splash of olive oil, a squirt of Meyer lemon and a dollop of the optional Meyer lemon aioli if desired.

Meyer Lemon Aioli:

This aioli is almost as good with regular lemons, if you don't have access to the Meyer lemons, use the traditional grocery store variety!

Make the Aioli: In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine lemon juice and garlic, and pulse until garlic is pureed (about 15 seconds). Add the mustard and pulse again until combined. Add the egg, egg yolks and lemon zest and process for 10 seconds, (if you are concerned about the raw eggs, use pasteurized eggs). Very slowly add the oil in a trickle through the feeding tube of the food processor until sauce is thick and well combined (emulsified). As the aioli becomes thicker, the machine sounds more like a purr than a whirr and you know it is done. If you like a firmer texture, add a little more oil, if you like your sauce softer, stop at the 2 ½ cups. Add the salt and process until well combined. If the aioli seems like it needs a little salt, resist the urge because the fish (and any other foods like grilled veggies will more than compensate). Set aside.

Note: You may have some leftover aioli but once you've tasted it, you'll want to slather it on everything from grilled asparagus to a ham sandwich! It will keep for 2 weeks refrigerated.

Fish, SeafoodElizabeth Karmel