Sea bass cooked in a parcel with Tuscan herbs

Sea bass cooked in a parcel with Tuscan herbs

Branzino con erbe Toscane al cartoccio

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
2
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

This very easy recipe was shown to us by Antonella Secciani, a chef at an agriturismo. She showed us how to wrap the fish in baking parchment and then in foil to ensure the precious flavours and juices don’t escape. I have been cooking fish al cartoccio like this for years but have never been so bold with the flavours. However, it works brilliantly and I now make this dish with fillets if I can’t get hold of a whole fish. The advantage of using fillets is that you don’t need to bone the fish. Sea bream works perfectly if sea bass is hard to find.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 fat garlic clove, peeled
600g whole sea bass, cleaned and scaled
or 2 sea bass fillets
1 lemon, 1/2 sliced into rings, and 1/2 cut into wedges, to serve
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Make a battuto from the rosemary leaves, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub this mixture over the skin and inside the cavity of the sea bass. Put the lemon slices in the belly of the fish, lay the fish on a large rectangle of baking parchment and drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the oil. Bring the long edges of the paper together and fold them over and over until you are about 5 cm from the fish. Fold the short ends of the parcel up and inwards, a few times on each end. Wrap the fish parcel fairly tightly in some foil and lay it on a baking tray.
  2. Cook the fish for 30–35 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch. Open the parcel and check the fish is cooked through. If not, wrap it up again and put it back in the oven for a few minutes. When it is cooked, remove from the oven, unwrap and fillet the fish. Put the fish on a warm serving plate and pour over any juices from the parcel and drizzle with the remaining oil. Serve with the lemon wedges, some steamed potatoes, or sautéed potatoes with spring onions (scallions), spinach, chilli and garlic.

Variation:

  • To cook the recipe using fillets instead of whole fish, simply rub the battuto onto both sides of 2 fillets. Lay the lemon slices on top of one fillet and put the other fillet on top, skin facing outwards, as if you are re-assembling the fish. Follow the recipe as above, cooking the fillets for 14–17 minutes or until firm to the touch. Serve as above.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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