Whole baked bream with tomato and chard

Bream is a delicious fish, especially when served whole. In this recipe from Luke Holder, they're baked atop a bed of rich tomato sauce studded with carrots, onions, chard and celery. The perfect midweek dinner.

First published in 2020
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Ingredients

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Method

1
Take the fish out of the fridge to allow them to come to room temperature
  • 2 bream, or bass, weighing approx. 600-800g in total. Ask your fishmonger to remove the bones while leaving the head on for presentation (a technique called canoeing)
2
Warm the olive oil in a large pan, then add the diced onion, carrot and celery and season with salt. Cook for 5 minutes until soft without colour
3
Add the bay leaves, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring to avoid colouration
4
Turn the heat up, add the white wine and reduce by two-thirds, then add the strained chopped tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes
5
Add the chard to the sauce and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Taste and check the seasoning
  • 550g of Swiss chard, or spinach, stalks removed and washed, roughly chopped
6
Once the sauce is ready, preheat an oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Spoon the ragu into an ovenproof dish large enough to hold both fish and spread it evenly over the bottom
7
Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little oil. Lay the fish in the tray and bake in the oven for 16 minutes
8
Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 8 minutes. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of chopped parsley before serving
First published in 2020
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Luke Holder comes by his taste for ultra-authentic local cuisine honestly: he's spent large chunks of his career soaking up regional techniques in far-flung parts of the world.

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