This is a dish we cook very frequently at home when in Portugal. We live near the coast and the Atlantic water is extremely cold and the fish is very tasty. We go to a nearby port where we can get 10 and 12 pound seabass caught with a fishing rod by local fishermen. This is an easy dish to make when all the family is together. We made this one after Christmas when we were 14 at home so we had a huge seabass. You can make it with smaller fish but if it is less then 4 pounds it tends to dry more because the potatoes will need more time to cook then a small fish. —Maria Teresa Jorge
very fresh seabass
potatoes cut in medium sized cubes
medium blond onions, peeled and cut in quarters
cherry tomatoes or normal tomato cut in quarters
garlic cloves, green inside stem removed and cut in quarters
Clean the seabass and make sure all the scales are well removed. Make 2 or 3 diagonal cuts on the flesh all the way to the bone. Season it with sea salt inside and outside.
Peel the potatoes and cut them in medium sized cubes. Put them in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside.
Peel the onion and cut in quarters. Peel the garlic, remove inside green stem and cut in quaters or thick slices.
Wash the whole cherry tomatoes or the normal tomatoes and cut them in quarters.
In a big deep baking tray, add half the olive oil. Put the fish in the tray. Insert 1/3 of the parsley, 2 bay leaves and some garlic inside the fish. Put 1/3 of the parsley under the fish and the other 1/3 on top of the fish, press some garlic quarters inside the diagonal cuts.
Pre-heat the oven to 350º F
Drain the potatoes and lightly salt them. Put them around the fish. Add the quartered onions and tomatoes, the remaining garlic, the rest of the bay leaves, peppercorns, chilli, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and mix the potatoes and tomatoes so they are well covered with olive oil. Add the white wine. Cover with aluminium foil.
Bake in a pre-heated oven covered for 30 minutes - Baste after 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 300º F, remove aluminium foil and baste every 15 minutes with the sauce. If the sauce starts to dry add the hot water, bit by bit as needed. The water might not be needed, depending on how much water your tomatoes have so it is not advisable to use canned tomatoes for this recipe.
The slits in the fish help it cook quicker so the fish shoul be ready when the potatoes are cooked.
Serve immediately serving the fish with potatoes, tomatoes and onion and a drizzle of sauce. Goes well with a green salad.