Monday, 27 August 2012

Ave, Londinium (sea bream baked with herbs and white wine)

Unlike many food bloggers, I often have no idea what I am going to cook for dinner, until I am in the supermarket to see what takes my fancy. On Saturday as I was rushing through Sainsbury's, I stopped by the fish counter and decided that the sea bream looked very appealing. That's my dinner sorted.

I decided to bake it with the herbs from the garden and white wine.

This recipe is a homage to London, to its Roman past and multi-cultural present.

This month's Best of British Challenge  is hosted by London Unattached. If you want to find out more about the challenge and peruse the last month's write-up have a look at The Face of New World Appliances (link removed as expired).

Sea bream baked with herbs and white wine

For the recipe you will need (for 2 people)

1 sea bream
1/3 bottle of white wine
herbs (basil, sage, fennel, chives)
1 sweet pepper
a handful of small tomatoes
4 tbsp cooked farro
green olives
cheese for peppers (that would melt well)
salt with coriander and rose petals (optional, just use sea salt if you don't have any fancy salt)
a good dollop of butter
a splash of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the cleaned fish in the deep ceramic dish, drizzle with olive oil, salt well, add sliced tomatoes and add chopped herbs in the splits on the side of the fish and inside. Pour the white wine over the fish, add more herbs and olives.

Place in the oven for about half an hour. The wine will be reduced and will make a lovely dipping sauce.
 At the same time bake the halved pepper drizzled with the olive oil. After 15 mins of baking, take them out, add some cooked farro. Add some chopped cheese. Put back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

I have already written about farro, the grain of the legions, if you want to find out more, please have a look here. The Roman legionnaires carried farro with them, and I would imagine they had their meals with farro and whatever local produce they could get their hands on: fish or any game, with the local herbs.

I picked the herbs from our garden earlier that day. And tomatoes are also from our greenhouse, chemicals- and pesticide-free (and for that pleasure I have been struggling with the caterpillars who found my tomato plants much to their taste).
Of course, historically, the Romans in Londinium would not have had any tomatoes and sweet peppers which were introduced in the Old World many centuries later. But in the modern multi-cultural and diverse London you can find anything.
My husband who doesn't like fish very much, said it was delicious. I enjoyed the fish, and the sauce was very tasty and fragrant.

So here it is, my Best of British/London recipe.
Oh yes, if anyone guesses what the cheese is, I'll crown you with laurels.


  1. Oh my goodness, never expected a Roman recipe. it looks good, great idea.

  2. Lovely recipe which would work with so many other types of fish.

    Hazel Rea - @beachrambler

  3. ahh found you! Lovely recipe...I might even try this