Aside from a roast sea bream (dorade) in Bordeaux earlier this year the sea bream I had tonight was only the second in my life. Both had Italian influences. This one was 'cleaned' i.e. de-scaled, fins removed and innards and gills taken out and the remaining prepared fish thoroughly washed in running cold water, ready to cook.
Using a 500g box of Tidman's natural rock salt (£1.50 at Tesco) I baked the sea bream for forty-five minutes on gas mark six. Simply line a baking tray with silver foil and empty half the salt on to the surface. Lovingly plonk the sea bream on top and cover up with the rest of the salt. Pop into a pre-heated oven for forty-five minutes.
To go with it I boiled some new potatoes and added butter and black pepper on straining and with a surprise finding of a small tin of marrowfat peas in my store cupboard I warmed them through with some spare finely chopped basil leaves and then made a mushy pea mix by mashing the cooked peas and basil together.
The tricky bit is gently removing the salt from the fish and removing the skin. Even if you are a salt freak like me I suggest you get rid of all the evident salt as the flavour seemed to have intensified threefold with the cooking. Finally dress the half naked fish with a little fresh lemon juice and a tiny splash of olive oil. Simple and very tasty, it took about an hour to put together and goes well with nice chilled Italian white wine.