Mick the Fish always has lovely fresh bass and bream, even when its stormy like post-Eunice. Normally I make this recipe for four, but its also fine for two if you use a sea bream. I serve with new potatoes and greens – pakchoi, tatsoi or purple sprouting, steamed with ginger and garlic. If you want to be more oriental, then serve with rice. I rarely eat meat these days, but Im afraid I do eat a lot of fish. I salve my conscience because Mick owns and sails his own trawler, just off Brighton – no super taker hoovers here! Last night I forgot to wrap it in foil, and just roasted it – the skin was lovely and crisp. A delicious TV supper watching Drive my car! (what a movie).
Serves 4; halve quantities for 2
- 1 whole sea bass or 2 small bream (about 1.4kg/3lb), gutted and cleaned
- 3 lemongrass stalks, cut diagonally into 2.5cm pieces
- 2 small chillies, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, halved
- 3cm piece fresh ginger , peeled and cut into thin strips
- 1 tsp runny honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 limes
- 2 lime leaves (use a few strips of lime peel if you can’t get these)
- STEP 1
Preheat the oven to fan 180C. Score across the fish and through the skin 4-5 times on each side, then lay the fish on a large piece of oiled foil, big enough to wrap it up loosely.
- STEP 2
Put the lemongrass, chillies, garlic and ginger into a small whizzer, with the honey and 1 tbsp of the oil. Squeeze in the juice of one of the limes. Whizz roughly so you have a coarse mixture – there’s no need to grind it finely.
- STEP 3
Season the fish inside and out. Scrape out half the pounded mixture over the fish, add the last of the oil and rub everything in, making sure you push some into the cuts.
- STEP 4
Cut the second lime into quarters and push two pieces into the cavity along with the remainder of the pounded mixture. Fold each lime leaf in half and tear out the central vein to give you two halves. Push these into the cavity, too.
- STEP 5
Squeeze the juice from the last two lime quarters over the fish and pull the sides of the foil up to create a loose parcel. Crimp the edges to seal, making sure there is some space around the fish.
- STEP 6
Bake for 25 minutes for a big fish and 15-20 for a small one. If you’re eating the fish straight away, let it rest for about 5 minutes before opening the parcel.