I was in Italy last year and throughout my entire stay, I ate to my heart's content! I love breads, pastas and pizzas but all the carbs Italy has to offer, eventually does get a bit tiresome. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it does if it's all you're eating for 9 consecutive days. Hence, one day while in Florence, I ordered a small seabass to add a bit of variety. The following is the photograph of the original seabass this recipe has been inspired by.
The fish was aromatic and it was perfectly flaky on the inside and delectably crusty on the outside. Needless to say, I wiped my plate clean (which rarely happens, and when it does it's a true compliment to the chef). This is my replica and take on that same fish based on inspection. The recipe calls for fresh thyme, which translates to complete and utter fragrant yummy-licious-ness (whatt, I made up a word). Please note that my excitement stems from sheer biasedness: I enjoy baked and grilled fishes. If you do too, then you'll enjoy this entree.
P.S. My apologies for posting what appears to be a bbq/grilling recipe as the temperatures are dropping. However, this fish is more easily grilled on an indoor grill, on which the grill marks will show up more prominently, which calls for better presentation. If you look closely at my feature photograph, you will note that on the outdoor grill while turning the large fish, some of the skin peeled off - this did not occur when I previously grilled two small seabasses on an indoor grill (see photograph below).
- seabass - 1 large, whole - gutted and cleaned
- lime - 1 sliced in 3 cm thicknesses
- thyme - fresh thyme - 12 sprigs
- rosemary - 1/2 teaspoon
- salt - 1 teaspoon (adjust to size of fish and preference)
- pepper - 1 teaspoon
- chilli flakes - 1 teaspoon
- olive oil - 2 tablespoons
- garlic - 4 cloves finely chopped
- ginger - 1 teaspoon finely chopped
Place your cleaned, gutted fish on an aluminum foil and diagonally insert deep slits 1.5 inches apart on both sides. Then, sprinkle salt and pepper, including on the inside of the fish and in the slits.
In a small bowl incorporate your olive oil, ginger, garlic, chilli flakes, rosemary and about 3 sprigs of the thyme (shredded). Mix and apply all over fish – get into every nook and cranny and thoroughly coat the entire fish; again including the slits and the inside. Then place the lime slices inside the fish and tuck in chunks of the thyme sprigs in the slits and finally place about 6 to 8 sprigs inside the fish. Refrigerate covered for about 20 minutes for all the flavours to soak through.
Grill the fish at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, then flip and grill on the other side for another 15 minutes. I ended up grilling the fish on an aluminum foil outdoors because the fish was too large to manage and flip (downside to this is that you won't see the grill marks). I guess in hindsight I've learned smaller fishes are easier to grill. If grilling isn't a feasible option for you, then bake the fish at 400 degrees in an aluminum foil for 25 minutes (cover the entire fish with breathing room and seal it at the top - you need to be able to open it to expose the top of the fish towards the end). Then open the package and broil on high for about 3 to 5 minutes until you see the fish get crispy and golden brown (monitor this portion, in order not to burn your fish).
**Note: depending on the size of your fish, you will have to give or take a few extra minutes in the oven/grill.