The recipe for Oven-baked Sea Bream/Bass with Fennel and Dill (specifics below) was created by Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi to accompany the Gabbiano Pinot Grigio 2007. The producers also suggest that the wine would be great with Baked Lemon and Herb Crusted Salmon but the Sea Bass looked so tempting from Oxford’s Covered Market I plumped for this recipe instead.
Wine Tasting Note: Gabbiano Pinot Grigio, 2007, Venezie, Italy.
A soft, gentle wine. Not one that makes you sit up and explode with adjectives but pleasurable and with a touch of character – hints of almonds, orange rind and citrus. Its lightly herbed edge would make it a fine partner for salads and most fish dishes, so with this specific partnership it was understandably a great match. I might have overdone the garlic a little and under-utilised the dill (I often find it a little overpowering in flavour and I’m not a huge fan) but the Pinot Grigio melded all together – a recommended pairing.
Scribblings Rating – 88/100 [3.5 out of 5]
Oven-Baked Sea Bream With Fennel And Dill
4 sea bream or sea bass, cleaned and de-scaled
50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 bulbs of fennel, finely sliced
50ml Gabbiano Pinot Grigio white wine
For the stuffing:
Large handful of dill, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, skins left on but crushed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Brush a baking sheet with a little of the olive oil and scatter over the sliced fennel. Drizzle over half the remaining olive oil and sprinkle over some salt and pepper.
2) Hold one of the fish open with one hand and with the other hand put a quarter of the dill and one garlic clove into the cavity. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper inside and out. Repeat with all the remaining fish and lay them over the fennel. Evenly pour over the rest of the oil and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through, depending on the size of the fish. Half way through the cooking time, baste the fish and fennel with the juices.