Sea Bream with Chilli, Ginger & Spring Onions

Super simple supper that never goes wrong.  This is a very forgiving way to cook fish, and better on the bone than off. I prefer to ‘steam’ in the oven by making a parcel rather than steaming on the hob.  This way the fish juices mingle with the other ingredients instead of dripping away and being lost to a saucepan of simmering water. The result is a gloriously moist and succulent fish, and a delicious liquor for pouring over your fish and rice.

You’ll be able to tell that the fish is cooked enough when the skin lifts away easily and the flesh comes away from the bone cleanly.

Whole Sea Bream
5-6 Spring Onions
1 or 2 Red chillis, finely sliced
1 inch piece of Ginger
2-3 tbsp of Shaoxing Rice Wine
1 tbsp light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Oil
Rapeseed Oil (or other neutral oil)

Trim the tail and any fins from the whole sea bream (de-scale if not already done). Score the skin on each side of the fish several times about 1 cm deep to allow more of the marinade to permeate whilst cooking.

Take a large piece of foil or baking parchment, it needs to be large enough to make a parcel for the fish to steam in.  Place the fish on top, take 2 of the spring onions and place in the cavity of the fish along with a few thin slices of ginger.

Fold up the edges of the foil a little (to stop the marinade from pouring out), and pour the rice wine, soy and sesame over the fish. Create a sealed parcel by folding over the foil and crimping the edges – use 2 layers of foil if its a bit thin.  You want to leave enough room for the fish to ‘steam’ in the marinade and juices so don’t make the parcel too tight.  Bake at about 180ºC for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of the fish.  You’ll know the fish is cooked through when it slides away from the central bone easily.

Whilst the fish is cooking, shred the chilli, ginger and spring onions. Remove the fish from the oven and allow to rest. Meanwhile heat a little oil in a frying pan on a moderate heat.  Add the ginger, fry for 30 seconds, then the chilli, fry for 30 seconds, then the spring onions and fry for 30 seconds.  You want the spring onions to soften a little but retain their vibrant green colour so careful not to overcook.  Open the fish parcel (breathe in the fragrant aromas!) and transfer the fish to a serving plate.  Pour over the cooking liquor, and top with the fried chilli, ginger and spring onions.

I like to eat this with plain steamed rice and a leafy chinese green such as Morning Glory or Kai Lan.