Whole baked bream with tomato and chard

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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





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)
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
Add the bay leaves, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring to avoid colouration
Turn the heat up, add the white wine and reduce by two-thirds, then add the strained chopped tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes
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
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
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
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

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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