Gilt-head bream is the most popular fish in the Mediterranean zone. If you ever travelled to any of our countries in this basin, chances are you saw it on the menu or you ate it by the sea in the fish tavern. This recipe is as simple as it can be, but at the same time, it gives you the unbelievable flavour of the Mediterranean sea. Gilt-head bream is the most popular sea fish in this area, especially in the Adriatic sea that we simply couldn’t keep this recipe a secret anymore. Of course, our recent obsession with ancient clay pot resulted in many Ketonisations that we’ll happily share with you!
Golden queen of the sea
Gilt-head bream (Sparus aurata) belongs to the Sparidae family. This is one of the noblest types of Mediterranean white-flesh fish. In ancient Greek cuisine, it was considered a true delicacy. For its magnificent appearance and the specific golden stripe on the forehead, ancient Romans gave it the prefix “aurata”, meaning golden. Thanks to its attractive appearance, it is also known as the “Queen of the Sea”. In modern times, in just about any Mediterranean country, this delicious fish is the star in any fish restaurant. Italians love it grilled, Spanish make great soup of it, in Dalamatia they have a wide variety of recipes, while in Greece we like it baked under the lid made of clay or stone.
What does it taste like?
Gastronomically Gilt-head bream is very appreciated for its delicious white meat. It usually lives along the coast and feeds on shells and crabs. Gilt-Head Bream has a light and fresh flavour with a medium smooth flesh texture giving small flakes when properly cooked. This fish has a moderate fat content, therefore to make it Keto friendly, feel free to add more butter and olive oil. Now, I know that this typical Mediterranean fish is not available everywhere in the world as fresh and wild catch. For this reason, I recommend trying species which could be utilised as an alternative to Gilt-Head Bream, such as classical Sea Bream and Sea Bass.
When a Guilt-head Bream is pan-fried, the skin takes on an interesting appearance similar to a reptile, with a rough wheat-grain like surface, making for a crisp finish.
The flesh of a Guilt-Head Bream is fragile, juicy and moist. Each flake is divided by a layer of smooth fish oil.
Baking it in the clay pot
As with everything, baked fish or meat in clay pots always taste better than anything. In this recipe, we are combining the best of both worlds. Wild greens from the forest are giving special ancient note to the fish and other vegetables. You can, of course, play with the herbs. We chose the ones that go best with this delicate fish. Also, we had in mind the Mediterranean tradition so we added goat butter and olive oil in abundance.
So, shall we see the recipe?
Gilt-Head Bream in Clay Pot
- 2 medium Gilt-Head Breams cleaned, fresh, preferably wild catch
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 medium eggplant
- 1/2 medium tomato
- 1/2 medium yellow bell pepper
- 1 cup wild greens of your choice chopped (you can use collard greens)
- 1 medium spring onion finely chopped
- 1/2 medium lemon juice
- 2 tsp goat butter
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar sage infused
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp sea salt freshly ground
- 6 leaves fresh peppermint finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 dried rosemary
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sea salt freshly ground
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 4 slices lemon
- make sure the fish is properly cleaned and washed. Many fish stores are giving this service!
- Pour 2 tbsp of olive oil into a clay pot or baking dish. Chop all the vegetables and lay it on the bottom. Squeeze the lemon and pour it all over the vegetables.
- Place 1 tsp of goat butter inside each of the fishes. Now place the fishes on top of the vegetables.
- Mix olive oil, apple cider vinegar, all the herbs and sea salt and warm water. Pour this mixture all over the fish and vegetables.
- Slice the lemon and place on top and inside the fish. Cover with a lid and bake for 30 minutes at 250ºC (480ºF)
- Remove the lid and bake for another 10 or 15 minutes. If you like the fish roasted, bake for another 20 minutes.