Whole Gilthead Bream
2 hours to overnight marinade
A great sized fish for one person of good appetite, it has a similar flavour to, but a firmer texture than sea bass and the flesh falls very easily off the bone. The 450g fish used in this recipe cooks at the perfect rate to produce a crispy skin, while cooking the flesh through for a perfectly moist result. A sandwich rack comes in here, as it’s so easy to turn the fish.
This timeless marinade could be applied to any
fish on the planet.
6 x 450g gilthead bream or sea bream
For the marinade
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- zest of 3 lemons
- 6 level tbsp chopped parsley
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 175g unsalted butter
- 11/2 level tbsp capers (baby if possible), washed well
fine sea salt
- 3 lemons, cut into wedges
To prepare and marinate the fish
Have your fishmonger scale, gut and remove the fins from your fish. Using a sharp knife, score the bream on the diagonal three or four times on each side through the skin, about 1/2cm into the flesh. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil with the garlic, lemon zest, 4 tbsp of the parsley and the pepper. Rub this marinade over the fish, into the cuts and inside the cavity. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Overnight is fine but unnecessary. Season the fish well on both sides with salt.
Preheat the oven to 280-300℃. Add a small log and blow with a blow pipe until it ignites. This will boost the temperature and give a naked flame rolling off the wood, which you need to achieve a crispy skin and to get things going quickly. Place the fish, well spaced, on an oiled oven tray and slide into the oven. Cook for 4-6 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. Watch the fish as they cook and turn the tray if one area of the oven is hotter to ensure an even result. To test for doneness, either use a temperature probe (reading about 60C when cooked), or have a peep inside the flesh, piercing it at its thickest point with a small sharp knife.
Melt the butter in a small pan with the capers. Stir in the remaining parsley.
Transfer the fish to a warmed plate. Pour over the melted butter mixture and serve with lemon wedges.