Orata alla Pugliese

Pugliese Baked Bream

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

The fish for this dish is cooked on a base of sliced potatoes that has been flavoured with garlic, fresh parsley and grated pecorino. The cheese needs to be really pungent and peppery so it stands up to the fish, so choose one that is mature and full of flavour. Serve this dish with a crisp green salad and some slow-roasted tomatoes for a fantastic meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 large gilthead bream, cleaned and scaled, about 1 kg/2 ¼ lb
  • 500 g/1 ¼ lb potatoes
  • 150 ml/¼ pint/ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for basting
  • a handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 75 g/3 oz pecorino cheese, grated
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Rinse the fish thoroughly and pat it dry.
  2. Peel the potatoes, slice them about 1 cm/½in thick and place them in a bowl of cold water. Leave to soak until required.

  3. Use half of the oil to coat the fish generously, both inside and out. Season with salt and pepper and tuck half the parsley and garlic into the cavity.

  4. Drain the potatoes and rub the slices dry in a clean cloth.
  5. Put the potatoes into a baking dish that is large enough to hold the fish. Add the rest of the oil with the remaining parsley and garlic. Mix well. Spread the potatoes evenly in the dish, season them with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the cheese.

  6. Lay the fish on top of the potatoes. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the fish is cooked through, basting occasionally with a little olive oil.
  7. Serve the fish and potatoes immediately, straight from the baking dish.

Variation

Although traditionally this dish uses a gilthead or emperor bream, any large, thick fish could be used instead, provided it will cook in more or less the same time as the potatoes.