I wanted to spoil my mother for her birthday by cooking her dinner. Her preference is always for something light and whilst she is a meat eater, my carnivorous nature clearly comes from my father’s side of the family.
I opted to take a wander through the shuk and see what struck me as being interesting. As is often the case, I found myself at the wonderful David Dagim where I asked for and received advice as to what was good for what I had in mind and reassurance that my cooking method was appropriate from none other than David himself! 2 small Denis (Bream or Sea Bream) was the result. I found some beautiful vine ripened cherry tomatoes and decided to roast them together with the fish and some garlic with little more than lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.
I also grabbed some good kalamata olives and a head of lettuce.
As well as the delicious result, there are other advantages to cooking like this – it’s super simple – almost no prep required, everything is done on one baking tray so there’s next to no washing up afterwards and the total cooking time is about 20 minutes depending on how big your fish is. It also looks really good (I think so anyway – let me know if you disagree) – and in the line of my previous post, it’s totally kosher for Pesach. It’s also a pretty healthy meal.
2 small / medium Denis (bream) (ask your fishmonger for advice on alternatives)
2 vines of cherry tomatoes – if you can’t find them on the branch that’s fine – it’s mainly because they look prettier this way
10 cloves of garlic
a dozen kalamata or other olives
3 – 4 lettuce leaves
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 200c / 400f
With a sharp knife, make 2 or 3 diagonal cuts in each fish
Rub olive oil and salt and pepper into the cuts and over the whole fish
Cut lemon in half and insert 2 – 3 lemon slices into the cavity of each fish
Put fish on a baking tray together with your cherry tomatoes and garlic
Squeeze a little lemon juice over the fish, add the lemon halves to the tray
Anoint the cherry tomatoes and garlic with some olive oil, salt and pepper
Put into the hot oven for 20 minutes
Wash, dry and tear your lettuce
Set up the plate as in the picture
Squeeze more of the roasted lemon over the fish