The greatest (or worst) part of cooking a fish dish is that it is often hard to predict what the fishmonger will have that day, so unless you cannily bring a recipe book in with you, one has to improvise on the spot the rest of the ingredients to match the fish. In this case, I went to the fishmonger thinking I would be doing a bouillabaisse but all they had were two (lovely) little sea bream, so sea bream it was! Next door in the grocers they had some slightly worse for wear fennel which I thought I should rescue and fish loves fennel so that seemed perfect. At home I made a sauce for the fish by braising 2 fennel bulbs (quartered) in the juice and zest of 1 orange, thyme, sliced garlic and some stock.
When it came to cooking the fish, I’ve found that the easiest way to cook fillets (after the fishmongers done the smelly gutting and filleting for one) is to whack an oiled baking tray into a 200˚C set oven until smoking, then add the seasoned fillets, skin side down, and cook for ten minutes. Check the fish is done by having a look to see if the translucent flesh has all turned opaque – it may need another two minutes. For the last 2 minutes I added the fennel and it’s cooking juices to let the fish take on some of the delicious Sicilian flavours. I topped with fennel fronds and served with crushed new potatoes.