Baked Sea Bass with Baking Potatoes: How to Bake Fish
I wonder why, sometimes, in the kitchen as in life, the apparently easiest things are the most difficult. This is undoubtedly what happens with baked fish, apparently easy to prepare, and yet it is difficult to succeed with this recipe; Perhaps the reason is that it has a few culinary requirements that by not following them to the letter we will not achieve the desired success. In addition, this dish is usually accompanied by the classic “baked potatoes”, the preparation of which can also lead to another culinary disaster; Because the problem of combining fish with these potatoes, both cooked in the oven, is that their cooking points are totally different.
Baked fish has 3 or 4 classic preparations: with papillote, with salt, on the back and simply on a dish smeared with oil, where the whole fish is placed, alone or with a potato or vegetable base. Fish “a la papillote” is a very simple preparation since it involves wrapping the fish in a bag prepared for the high temperatures of the oven, or covered in white paper; in this way it is cooked in its own juice and does not lose any flavor, achieving a succulent result; the only drawback is that you should not cook other ingredients with the fish because they usually have different cooking times. “A la sal” is very similar to the previous one, as long as We cover it with a thick layer of common or sea salt, burying it in such a way that it does not have any hole so that the strong heat does not penetrate it and I dry it; once cooked, let it rest and then remove the thick and hard layer with a knife. It is known by the name of “on the back” because the fish opens like a book, with the skin towards the back and in contact with the tray or source where it is cooked. Then you can top it with different ingredients: oil, parsley, garlic, wine, etc. or the spices that you like the most. Some of them go through the griddle or the pan first, with a little oil, salt and pepper, and then place it on the oven tray and accompany it with the mentioned ingredients.
So as I think there is nothing more festive than a good baked fish and it is a great solution when we celebrate something, since it is a delicious dish and not at all complicated, I intend to teach you how to cook fish in the oven by offering you a series of tips that, if you follow them, will ensure their success. In the same sense, I will refer to “bakery potatoes”, or any bed of other vegetables, a magnificent culinary idea since they absorb the flavor of the fish very well, forming a perfect pairing.
Tips for cooking fish in the oven:
I heard these suggestions from my mother from a very young age and I think they could not be more practical and useful.
1. We start with the fish. I strongly say that not all fish are suitable for the oven. It is essential that they have a hard, tight and juicy meat; for example, sea bass, bream, turbot, bream, etc. they are very suitable for making in the oven; but the bonito, tuna, whiting, even sole, are not so much. I also avoid fish that, being very tasty for the oven, are full of bones; An example is the scorpionfish.
2. The fish must be very fresh and of good quality; If we are not sure, we must choose another culinary preparation, since the oven enhances the best and the fish.
3. Tell the fishmonger to remove the scales, gills and fins, but never the head but never the skin since it would lose juiciness. The fish must be cooked with the head but I usually ask the fishmonger to remove the guts; However, there are magnificent cooks who cook it with everything.
4. The fish should be washed very well, under the tap and with cold water, and then dried with a kitchen paper; then, it should be seasoned both inside and outside, so that the salt penetrates well, and if it is coarse salt better; As the skin is removed at the end, it will not be salty.
5. It must be cooked to its point; I prefer that they be a little raw than they are overdone. For this, the recommended cooking times are 15 to 20 minutes for each kilo (it will depend on how you like it in the past), and 10 more minutes for each extra kilo.
6. The oven must be preheated to 200º and then lower it to 190º or 180º (it will depend on the heat it provides) and you should not open it. The source where you are going to cook them must be well smeared with extra virgin oil and have some liquid or humidity so that they come out juicy: fish stock, vegetable broth, wine, etc. You will know if the fish is at its point if the meat detaches well from the central bone.
7. Once cooked, you must serve it immediately. I recommend grilling the fish while you train diners with something to snack on and open your mouth.
8. As for bakery potatoes and since they need cooking almost three times higher than fish, there are 3 ways to make them: 1. Boil them before the fish, with some broth, or a mixture of wine and water until they are almost done. 2. Fry them at a low temperature (you can do it in a deep fryer) and then put them in the roasting pan or oven with the fish on top so that they finish browning. BUT NEVER, you must cook them at the same time as the fish. The photo below that appears in so many recipes will lead you to an assured failure: the fish will dry out or the potatoes will be raw; in any case, the dish will be inedible.
a seabass of the weight you want (this was almost 2 kilos); This fish is wild because we are at Christmas but you can do it with any farmed sea bass, which undoubtedly has a little more fat.
And the following ingredients:
1 large onion or chive
3 fat garlic cloves
a glass of dry white wine (300 dl.); I use albariño for fish (1/3 for mashed and 2/3 to pour over the fish when it goes to the oven)
sliced potatoes (thin or thicker)
2 or 3 tablespoons of oil
salt and pepper
1 cup (250 ml) of fish stock or vegetable broth
1. Wash the fish well and dry it with a kitchen paper. You leave it inside and outside and put some pieces of lemon on it that you will then remove when it goes to the oven:
2. You also add a cup of fish fumet or vegetable broth:
3. Now prepare a mashed garlic, parsley, 2 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt and when it is well crushed in the mortar (if you do not have a mortar you can crush the garlic and make the mixture in any bowl), add 1 / 3 part of the wine (100 ml.) (You leave the rest for when you add the fish to the potatoes) and pour it all over the potatoes:
5. Next, put it in the oven preheated to 200º and lower it to 180º or 190º (depending on the strength of the oven) and it should cook for 30 to 45 minutes, until the potato is almost soft but not golden brown; Covering it with albal is a good idea so that the potatoes don’t roast:
6. After that time, you check that the potatoes are almost soft, you place the fish on top, to which you have removed the lemon pieces; Spread the rest of the mortar mixture over the skin of the fish and inside and also the wine (the remaining 200 ml.). Now you cook it with the potatoes that will brown a little:
7. The fish with the baking legs will cook about 20 minutes per kilo of fish; This one took about 27 minutes. And here is the result:
8. You will know that it is cooked when its meat detaches well from the central spine, as you see in the photo below:
9. When removing the skin from above to serve it, you can see the smoothness and if you prick it you will check the juiciness of the fish. A marvel!:
10. Finally, I serve it clean and cut into pieces, that is, without skin and bones, and garnished with the baked potatoes. And the result is amazement. This fish is really juicy and meaty and needs no more sauce. The potatoes are also on point with golden edges and a soft and exquisite interior due to the liquids they have absorbed and the taste of the fish..
BON APPÉTIT AND GOOD LUCK !!!!!!!!