This is the type of food I love to cook on a weekday evening when not rushing to get dinner on the table. There is little preparation for something absolutely delicious - most of the effort is done by the heat of the oven.
This harissa roast seabass recipe gives bold fresh flavours, with just one baking tray to wash up. The preserved lemons caramelise to a salty sweetness, the garlic becomes rich and soft; allowing oven time makes all the ingredients sing. Finally the salsa verde adds some welcome green acidity.
The roasting tin in the photograph is from Alan Silverwood – you’re not supposed to put them in the dishwasher, but if you do they develop the beautiful patina you can see in the photos.
Ingredients Serves: 2
- 500g potatoes
- 3 small preserved lemons
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 onions
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp flaky salt
- 1 x 350g-400g sea bream whole, gutted
For the marinade
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 10g harissa
- Juice of ½ lemon
For the salsa verde
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 7g fresh coriander, chopped
- 7g fresh parsley, chopped
- Juice from ¼ large lemon
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp capers in brine, drained and chopped
- Heat your oven to 180°C. Chop the potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes. Scrape out the pith from the preserved lemons and discard. Slice the preserved lemon peel into 2mm thick strips. Peel and cut the garlic cloves in half. Peel and cut the onions into quarters. Toss potatoes, preserved lemons, garlic and onions together with the flaky salt and olive oil. Spread out on a baking tray – tucking the garlic cloves and some of the preserved lemon under potatoes where possible so they cook more slowly. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Whilst the potatoes roast, mix together the 2 tbsp olive oil, minced garlic, harissa and lemon juice to make the marinade. Cut three long slits into the flesh on each side of the fish. Rub half the marinade all over the fish, and place in the fridge. Reserve the rest of the marinade to add just before roasting.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven. They should be cooked through, and the onions lightly browned. Move them around a little to make some space in the centre for the fish. Take the sea bream from the fridge and lay in the centre of the baking tray – sitting it on top of some garlic, onion and maybe a few potatoes. Pour over the remaining marinade. Roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the fish is cooked through (if using a thermometer, it should measure 60-65°C in the centre – it will continue cooking when removed from the oven).
- Mix together the salsa verde ingredients, and spoon over the tray before serving.