Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Friday, 17 February 2012

Something fishy for dinner at last! Besugo al Horno, or Baked Sea Bream. Delicioso!

Occasionally it's dinner for one. Well, dinner without Phill, and I take full advantage of this situation by sitting down to fish. We are scarily unpescatarian chez Lola and Finn and it is a source of disappointment to me. I might have more chance if Lola and Finn saw their dad eating a fruit de mer with gusto, but the fact of the matter is if it isn't covered in batter and come from the chippy, Phill is loathe to try any fish. Lola and Finn are proving hard to convert anyway, the only success I have had in making them eat fish is opening a tin of tuna.

Anyway, I try not to be too down about the lack of fish cooking and instead and make sure I grab the opportunity to cook myself something fishy when Phill is not at home. It's pasta night for the kids (they're happy) and I consider my options from the fish I have bought and frozen when I have been out shopping and spied a bargain. On this occasion it was sea bream, a fiddly fish really I suppose (though I suppose I could have filleted it - it was only me to care for though and sucking the flesh from fish bone doesn't really bother me at all) but I do like it and I love this simple way of cooking it. It appeals to that little part of me that is just a tiny bit Spanish. Sólo un poco.

The original recipe is from the exceptionally groovy and hunger inducing 'Olive' magazine but I have tweaked to my taste. Firstly, I am not a huge fan of red onion and decided instead on the half of a brown one that I had lurking in the fridge. Secondly, I cut the amount of oil down significantly, using enough just to grease the dish and then enough to coat the potatoes, tomatoes and onions rather than have them swimming. I probably used 25ml, maybe 30ml at a push. A small detail, but I used cherry tomatoes on the vine because I wanted a tomato that tasted of tomato, and this time of year is not the time to get them here in little old England (like any time is, but that is for another blog altogether).
And I added a little parsley at the end, because I love it with lemon.

This is very easy to make, even with the faff of parboiling the potato slices. Don't miss this out, otherwise the potatoes will not cook in the relatively short time it takes to cook the fish. Parboiling ensures the potatoes are cooked in the finished dish but it also allows the potatoes to take on the lemony, winey, oil flavours as the potatoes finish cooking. Alchemy indeed.

Besugo al Horno, or Baked Sea Bream, adapted from 'Olive' magazine

Ingredients for 2

2 Sea Bream, gutted and cleaned but with the head on
2 lemons (1 halved and the other cut into thin wedges)
50 - 60ml olive oil (or more if it is to your taste)
Three - four good size potatoes, thinly sliced and parboiled in salted water (I used Exquisa new potatoes, about seven of them)
One onion, sliced (red if you like)
One tomato sliced, or several smaller ones, sliced
2 bay leaves
a glass of white wine or fino sherry (I used white wine)


Prepare the potatoes by slicing them and then parboiling them until they are half cooked. Set aside until required.

Preheat the oven to 200f/Fan 180f/Gas 6

Oil the dish you are using to cook the fish.

Take the fish, carefully slash the fillets three times on each side, and insert a wedge of lemon into each slash.

Place the fish in the dish.

Tuck the potatoes, onion slices and tomatoes around the sides of the fish.

Add the olive oil, lemon juice and white wine. Ensure the potatoes, etc. are all well coated, using your hands if necessary.

Tuck in the bay leaves (if you haven't done so already!!) and season generously with salt and black pepper.

Cover the dish with foil and place it in the oven for about 25 minutes. Once that time has passed, remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes to allow the skin on the fish to crisp a little and for the potatoes to brown slightly.

Serve the fish whole on a bed of the vegetables, drizzled with the olive oil, lemon juice and wine mixture. A liberal sprinkling of parsley at this point is a beautiful thing.


  1. I think this looks absolutely delish!

  2. Hi, my children always add potatoes, when baking but the potatoes always
    burned and dry. Yours look good. Must try.
    Merry Christmas
    Rahim Maarof


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