This is an Italian dish normally made with freshwater fish, caught from the local lakes and rivers running through the Umbrian countryside. You could use perch, trout or any white fish for this recipe. I have used sea bass as its sweet light textured meat goes perfectly with the salty pancetta, caramelised lemons and fennel.
Sea Bass with Fennel and Caramelised Lemon
Serves 1 -2
1 whole sea bass
100g pancetta or bacon lardons
2 large cloves garlic
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tbsp fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Combine the rosemary, garlic, pancetta and fennel seeds in a food processor (If you don’t have one of these then chop all the ingredients as fine as you can). Slice one half of the lemons into thin circles. Save the other half for juice.
2. Place fish in a baking dish, and stuff the fennel mixture and a few lemon slices into the fish, as well as on the outside and surrounding area inside the baking dish.
3. Drizzle generously with olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon and add a good splash of white wine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. In a small bowl whisk up some additional olive oil and lemon juice for basting.
5. Cover dish with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes (basting a few times with the olive oil lemon mixture to prevent juices and fish drying out). The fish should be nicely browned on the outside but still soft and fluffy inside.
6. Slice remaining lemon into medium size circles. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and gently fry lemon slices until browned on each side and slightly caramelised. Serve the lemon slices along with the fish. For a good accompaniment try this fennel salad recipe.