THIS week saw me taking a SOS phone call from my good mate Phil Hemmings to rescue a special night with his lady. Deciding to present his lovely lady with a nice evening in with fine food and wine, he was left out in the cold when he purchased all the goods for a whole roasted sea bass and no idea where to start.
So, I will share with you my tips that helped the big man get over the line
Roasting/baking whole fish stuffed with herbs, olive oil and wine is a great way to enjoy the sweet delicate spoils of the sea. When choosing fish we stick to the golden rules of selecting seafood: clear eyes; sweet smell of the sea; reputable supplier; and sustainability certificate. Ask the fishmonger to clean and scale the fish before taking it home.
Leaving the head on plays an important part of providing plenty flavour and is home to one of the tastiest parts of the fish – ‘the cheeks’. Preparing the fish for roasting is simple and all that is required is a sharp knife and your choice of spices or herbs. Place your fish on a clean cutting board and using a sharp knife – slice to slightly open the flesh so your flavours can reach the centre of the fish. Aluminium foil is the best choice for wrapping the fish, locking in the tasty juices for soaking up with crusty bread.
The following species are great for roasting and packed full of flavour…
Baby Sea Bass
Farmed fresh water trout
So lets get cracking on my simple whole roasted sea bass with fresh thyme, lemon, and black olives. Happy cooking and enjoy!
What you need:
1 x baby sea bass
5 x sprigs of fresh thyme
1 x plum tomato chopped into small dice
Good quality olive oil
1 small lemon sliced
Handful of black olive
½ cup of dry white wine
What to do:
Turn your oven onto 180-190 degrees.
Using a sharp knife, score the fish as described to allow the flavour to get through.
Open the cavity of the fish and rub with olive, salt, pepper and add the fresh lemons and some thyme.
Lay out two large sheets of aluminium foil in a cross pattern and make an open ended envelop. Drizzle olive oil over into the envelope, place the fish in and leave the end open at this stage.
Add the tomato, olives and the white wine and seal the envelope and place on an oven-baking tray.
Place in the oven and roast for 15 mins. After 15 mins remove the envelop from the oven and allow to cool for two minutes. Carefully open the seal end and using a folk test to see if the flesh comes off the bone of the fish with ease. If not reseal the envelop and cook for a further 5 mines and test again.
Remove the fish from the envelope, keeping the roasting juices, and place on a large platter for serving. Spoon the roasting juices and olive mix over and around the fish and serve with plenty of stemmed veggies or a large rocket salad.