Black Sea Bass Roasted on a bed of Fresh Bay Leaf
Time requirement: 5-10 minutes prep and 25-30 minutes to cook.
What you will need.
1 whole black sea bass, head on, scaled and gutted. These fish will be about one pound each before they are gutted and scaled.
2 medium size tomatoes, about 6 ounces each.
A dash of salt.
18-24 fresh bay leaves.
12 pitted olives, a mix of green and black, cut in half.
12 capers. I prefer the ones packed in salt.
1 garlic clove minced.
The leaves form an 8-inch sprig of fresh oregano.
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
2 tablespoons of white wine at room temperature.
Dice the tomatoes and set them in a strainer to drain
Wash the fish under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place the fish on a clean flat work surface and on each side make three deep incisions in the flesh – from the skin to the bone. Cut 3 thin slices from the lemon and cut each slice in half. Place a half slice of lemon in each incision in the fish. Scatter a dash of salt in the cavity of each fish. Set the fish aside.
Choose a glass or ceramic oven-proof pan that can accommodate the fish with just a little extra room. Layer the bottom of the pan with the bay leaves. Around the edge of the pan cover the bay leaves with the diced tomato (discard the juices that drained out), follow with the olives, capers, and garlic. Chop the oregano leaves and scatter these in the pan. Dot the whole with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the fish in the center of the pan. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the fish and drizzle the white wine over the whole.
Preheat the oven. When the oven is 450 degrees F. Loosely cover the pan with foil and place in the oven Set a timer for 25 minutes. At 25 minutes test for doneness. Remove from the oven. Place a fork in one of the incisions of the on the fish. If you can easily flake the flesh from the bone, the fish is done. If not cook continue to cook and test again in five-minute interval. If the fish is nearly done, remove the pan from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. The retained heat in the pan will finish the cooking.
To serve, place the fish on a serving plate and spoon the juices and vegetable around the fish. I serve the fish with the bay leaves, but I do not eat them.
A note about salt. If you use capers packed in salt, that salt, along with the salt in the olives, may be all you need. I tend to leave the salt to add at the table when I am starting with salty items like capers and olives. But you can do as you wish!