If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-J.R.R Tolkien

10 January 2010

Whole Roasted Bream with Lemon, Herbs and Fennel

On Saturday morning we took some shopping bags, hopped on the bus and headed to Hakaniemi Food Market .
It was very busy, as you would expect, since there aren't that many food markets in Helsinki, and so it is probably the best place to go to for all your top ingredients. The downstairs is dedicated to food and there you can for example find the fishmongers, butchers, delicatessens, cheese shops, bakeries, fruit and veg stalls and a fantastic soup kitchen. This place makes you wish you never had to shop at a super
market again. Upstairs you can find clothing, crafts and such. I especially like the Epäonnistunut tyttö (Failed girl) stall with quirky accesories.

So we had our minds set on preparing a whole fish for dinner but we we're open minded on the choice of the fish. Töölön Kala oy seemed to have the best choice on whole fish so we had a little chat with the jolly guys behind the counter and ended up catching a bream, scaled and gutted for us. The whole fish cost less than 5 euros so you can call it a bargain!

We also got a fantastic bread loaf from the bakery, some beans and fennel from the organic stall Satumarja, olives and artichoke from Maustekeidas and some cheese from the Lentävä Lehmä, but more about that later.

Olives, artichoke and bread for a starter

Whole Roasted Bream with Lemon, Herbs and Fennel, served with Butter Beans

We chose to use Bream for the dish because we hadn't used it before and also because it was very cheap at 7 euros per kilo. The taste of the fish was good but we did not realize that the fish is quite boney, with some y-shaped bones that are difficult to take off. Therefore we recommend some other fish for this recipe, such as rainbow trout or sea bass, if available.
Serves 2

Whole Bream or other suitable fish, ask your fishmonger to de-scale and gut the fish for you
Thyme, few sprigs
Cinnamon Basil, few sprigs
Zest and juice of one lemon
One clove of Garlic, finely chopped

Pinch of red chili paste
Fennel fronds
Salt and pepper
Olive oil, 5 tbsp

To stuff the fish
Half a fennel, sliced
Half a lemon, sliced

On the side
Butter beans, 400 g can

Zest and juice of half a lemon
One clove of garlic
Half a fresh red chili
Olive oil, 2 tbsp

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Wipe the fish, make five cuts on each side in the flesh. Place in an ovenproof dish.
Chop the herbs and mix all the other ingredients to make a paste. Rub the paste on the fish and stuff it with the lemon and fennel. Place in the middle of the hot oven and cook for around 20 minutes.

Drain and rinse the butter beans. Warm the oil in
a pan on medium heat. Cook chili and garlic from one to two minutes, without colouring the garlic. Add the beans, cook until hot. Add lemon juice and zest. Season to taste.
We also had some salad with romaine lettuce, fennel and sprout with our fish.

Wine Match
White-fleshed fish is quite mild , and when you serve it like this in herbs and a lot of lemon juice, an aromatic dry wine will complement it well. Sauvignon blanc is perfect with herbacious green aromas and acidity, that will match the flavours of the dish. Yet, it won't overpower the subtle taste of the fish.

Best examples of Sauvignon blanc come from Malborough in New Zealand and Sancerre in France. Those can be a bit pricey though so we chose another Loire valley Sau
vignon from Touraine, from Alko for under ten euros. It proved to be a delicious match with our fish!

1 comment:

  1. I love the Hakaniemi Market! Used to visit it regularly when I lived in Helsinki. That bream looks very good!