Besugo al Horno

BREAM BAKED WITH POTATOES

An extremely decorative Spanish dish, Besugo al Horno (beh-zoo-goh ahl ohr-noh) makes an elegant main course for a lunch or dinner party. Serve it with a light white wine such as Pouilly-Fuisse, Alsatian Riesling, Petit Chablis or Moselle.

2 bream, each about

2 lb., cleaned but with heads and tails left on

1 ½ teaspoons salt lemon, cut into 6 sections small black olives

1 oz. water

3 fl. oz. olive oil

Preheat the oven to moderate 350 F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Wash the fish under cold, running water and dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper towels. Sprinkle

1 teaspoon of salt over the fish and, with a very sharp knife, make three parallel, crossways cuts across each fish. The cuts should be about i inch deep, 3 inches long and 1 inches apart. Insert a section of lemon, skin side up, into each cut and insert an olive in the eye socket of each fish.

In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, garlic, paprika and parsley. Spread the potato rounds evenly on the bottom of a large, shallow baking tin. Sprinkle them with the rest of the salt and the pepper. Pour the water over the potatoes.

Place the fish on top of the potatoes. With a pastry brush brush the fish with the olive oil.

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the fish and bake it in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until the flesh is creamy, the skin crisp and the potatoes cooked.

Serve immediately.

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