Fish/ Main Course

Baked Sea Bream with Orange and Lemon

Overhead photo of cooked sea bream with citrus slices and a side of vegetables
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The sweetness of the orange and the tartness of the lemon give this delicate fish a citrusy aroma which will make your tastebuds dance of joy. You can use the same recipe to grill the fish on the barbecue or to bake it in the oven, depending on the season.

Sea Bream has always been my favorite fish. Maybe because it’s the only fish I’ve ever eaten in most of my life.

Spring and Summer in Italy are usually very sunny and warm and so we made barbecues almost every Sunday. I have very good memories of my father and grandfather sitting under a big umbrella in front of the barbecue, watching the meat slowly cook to perfection.

But every so often we would swap the meat with fish, Sea Bream to be exact. Sea Bream is very easy to find in every supermarket. It doesn’t cost a fortune, it’s easy to clean and it’s very flavorful.

Overhead photo of cooked sea bream with citrus slices and a side of vegetables

My father would clean it for me on the plate, then just added a drizzle of good olive oil and I dug in. I loved it. It was so soft and succulent, with the light flavor of lemon and parsley in every bite.

Now I’m all grown up and live on my own with my boyfriend, but we still love a good Sea Bream grilled on the BBQ. Except now I clean my own fish.

Now I live in The Netherlands, which means barbecue weather is about 10 days a year, so I perfectioned the baked Sea Bream in the oven. Is not as flavorful as the grilled version, because the smoke and charcoal gives it an extra kick, but is still very good, perfect for a Sunday lunch.

I usually make it the same way, with lemon, garlic and fresh herbs. But once, just for fun I added a few slices or orange and I was immediately in love. Since then, I always add orange slices every time I bake fish. The orange gives it a nice sweetness and aroma which makes it dreamy and delicious.

Slices of orange and lemon

More about Sea Bream Fish

Sea Bream is called “Orata” in Italian. The name comes from Oro (gold) because of the characteristic golden strip they have between their eyes.

This fish can be found in all of the Mediterranean sea and in the oriental Atlantic ocean. It usually lives near the coasts in small groups or even in solitary.

Its meat is very fine and it’s known for having few bones, which makes it suitable also for kids, similar to the Sea Bass.

Overhead photo of two raw sea breams with citrus slices on top

How to clean Sea Bream fish

When you buy this fish at the supermarket or at your local fishmonger, you can ask them to clean it for you (recommended if you’re squeamish like me). If instead you want to be brave and clean it by yourself, you can watch this instruction video.

Once the fish is clean, we can stuff it and cook it whole, we will then remove the skin and the spines only at the table.

This way all the flavors and juices will be absorbed in the meat and it will make the fish much tastier.

Overhead photo of cooked sea bream with citrus slices and a side of vegetables

How to fillet cooked Sea Bream:

The Sea Bream, just like the Sea Bass, have very few bones, so it’s quite easy to clean. The main bones are the central spine and a few dorsal spines. They’re all quite big so it’s easy to spot them and remove them.

When the fish it’s perfectly cooked, it will be quite easy to remove the flesh from the bones. If it doesn’t come easily, it means that you need to cook the fish a little longer.

To fillet the cooked fish, used these few steps:

  1. Carefully remove the upper skin by gently scraping with a fork or with a fish knife.
  2. Run the knife through the center of the fish, to divide the fillets.
  3. Gently lift the fillets and remove them. Set them on a clean plate or on the side.
  4. Remove the head and the central spine. It should come all in one piece.
  5. Divide the fillets as in step 2. Gently move the fillets to detach them from the skin.
  6. If the skin doesn’t detach easily, you can turn the fillets upside down and scrape the skin away as in step 1.

For a better visual, watch this video instructions on how to fillet cooked fish.

Overhead photo of cooked sea bream with citrus slices and a side of vegetables

The Recipe

Baked Sea Bream with Orange and Lemon

Sea Bream is a delicate yet flavorful fish that gives its best when baked or grilled whole. The addition of citrus, gives it an amazing aroma which will make your tastebuds sing.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 Sea Breams
  • 3-4 sprigs Lemon Thyme
  • 3-4 sprigs Parsley
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/2 Onion minced
  • 2 tbsp EV Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Lemon Zest
  • Pink Peppercorns optional

Instructions

  • Clean and wash thoroughly the fish, then pat dry and set them aside.
  • Cut the orange and lemon in thin slices, then season the inside of the fish belly with salt.
  • Mix together the minced onion, garlic and lemon zest, then spread it inside the fish belly.
  • Add the orange and lemon slices and fresh parsley inside.
  • Drizzle a baking dish with olive oil, then add the stuffed Sea Breams.
  • Top with other slices of orange and lemon and some sprigs of Lemon Thyme.
  • For an extra kick of flavor, add some pink peppercorns on top or inside.
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 40-45 minutes.

Notes

I served the fish with a side of honey glazed carrots and sautéed garlic broccoli.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword baked fish, BBQ grilled fish, roasted sea bream
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Overhead photo of cooked sea bream with citrus slices and a side of vegetables

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