For a lot of people cooking a whole fish is a little intimidating. That’s why so many of us cook fish fillets instead or (like the lady in my fishmonger the other day) ask for the head and tail to be cut off and the fish gutted to make the whole process a little easier and I suspect to make the fish look less, well, fish like. The truth is that if you bake a whole fish, the whole process of cooking could not be easier, and once your fish is baked it will simple enough to remove the bones as the cooked fish will literally fall off them. This recipe for baked sea bass is really quite fool proof and makes an impressive and tasty dinner that is actually very healthy to boot. Try to buy your sea bass from a fishmonger and look for clear eyes while avoiding fish that has too much of a “fishy” smell. Sea bream works just as well.
1 500g sea bass or sea bream
4 tomatoes sliced in half
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1 handful of basil leaves sliced
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to season
1. Preheat the oven to its maximum temperature then reduce to 200C.
2. Place the tomatoes in an oven proof dish, drizzle with olive oil and season. Scatter the basil and garlic over the top and bake in the oven for 10 mins.
2. Meanwhile, slash the fish three times on each side to allow it to cook more evenly and season making sure the seasoning gets inside as well.
3. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and place the fish in the same dish with the tomatoes, drizzle with some more olive oil and the white wine and then return the fish and tomatoes to the oven.
4. Bake for around 30 mins or until the fish is firm to touch. Leave the fish to rest for a few minutes before serving with some green vegetables or rice.
This recipe is adapted from the Eagle Cookbook, although I increased the cooking time for the tomatoes to give them a softer texture and more intense flavour. I have been sent a copy of the Cookbook to review by the publishers however I want to try out a few more recipes first before reviewing.