Baked Sea Bream ‘al cartoccio’

Baked Sea Bream ‘al cartoccio’

This recipe is nearly always featured on the menu at The Seahorse, it is a really popular choice.  There is something wonderful about the fish arriving at the table in its bag and the flavours and aromas of heady rosemary and garlic being released as the little package is opened at the table, it’s all part of the pleasure.  Make sure you use really fresh ingredients to produce a cracking result.

Serves 4


1 sea bream, weighing about 1.25kg, scaled and gutted
A few sprigs of rosemary
1 small dried chilli
6 whole cloves of garlic, skin left on
Sea salt
50ml olive oil
½ glass of dry white wine
1 lemon


Put a piece of turkey-size tinfoil, about 70-80cm long on to a work surface and cover with a layer of parchment paper. Fold over each edge so that the foil and parchment are secured together at the edges. Put a couple of sprigs of rosemary in the belly cavity of the fish and a couple in the centre of the parchment. Lay the fish on the parchment and crumble the chilli over the top.


Lightly crush the garlic cloves by putting the flat side of a knife on top and giving it a thump with your hand, then put them on and around the fish. Sprinkle with sea salt. Lift up the edges of the foil to keep everything in and add the olive oil and wine.  Now encase the fish in the foil – it should be in a loose bag but sealed tightly, enabling it to steam. Place it on a roasting tray and bake in a hot oven for 35 minutes.


Remove from the oven and carefully undo the bag, folding back the sides to make the fish easy to get at. Squeeze a little lemon over the top and

give everyone a plate so they can help themselves.