Sea Bream wrapped in Bacon

Living in the Frankfurt area of Germany means having a challenge in getting truly fresh fish. Not that the fish at the local supermarket is old or bad – you just don’t know where that fish came from, how it got here and for how long it had been sitting around somewhere.

So when I came across this small local dealer, I could not resist to have a closer look at his display. And what I saw convinced me to get some of his fish: all the fish had clear eyes, red gills and generally a visibly good condition. The price matches the quality but hey, quality has its price. So I got us two Sea Breams. The dish: Sea Bream wrapped in Bacon on seared onions. Side-dish of fresh salad and some marinated scallops.

What you need

  • One Fish (Sea Bream) per person,
  • about 5-6 Onions,
  • some Garlic,
  • some fresh herbs – only fall back on dried herbs as very last resort!
  • a little bit of Olive Oil,
  • about 40ml Vermouth,
  • Salt, Pepper, Sugar
  • two slices of Bacon per fish

For the scallops, I added

  • 4 scallops per person,
  • some more Garlic,
  • some Rosemary (preferably) or other fresh herbs
  • a bit of Butter
  • some lemon

The Scallops come first

I am starting out with the scallops for they have to rest in their marinade for some time. Peel the garlic and chop it to fine pieces. Mix the Olive Oil (about 4 large spoons) with the garlic and the herbs, then marinate the scallops. Let them rest for at least 20 minutes.

Next is the Fish, then the Onions

If you want to tackle it one after the other, the fish is next: remove the gills (!) and all the fins. Wash the fish until it is clear and clean. Ensure that there are not scales. You want a clean and cleaned fish. Put them on the side when done.

When done with the fish, peel the onions and cut them roughly. I halfed mine and then cut each half into four. Likewise, I peeled the garlic and chopped that as well. Finally, I added the fresh herbs, also chopped.

The Cooking

Use a pot large enough for both fish. And use one that you can actually put into the oven… if you don’t have one, forget about the fish for the moment and just use a pot big enough for to sear the onions.

Heat up some olive oil pretty good, then take back the heat and add the onions and the garlic. Let that cook for about 5-8 minutes and wait for the onions to become “glassy”. Now add the Vermouth and some salt, pepper and a hint of sugar. Put the lid on the pot and let it sit on the heat for about 15 minutes. For the last three minutes, add your herbs. Then take the pot off the fire and let it cool down a bit.

Meanwhile, you should have heated the oven to about 200°C. Now take the fish, cut it in parallel cuts (2 – 3 per side) and let it have some salt and pepper (but no lemon!). Then add the seared onions and fill the cavity. Finally, wrap each fish in two slices of bacon.

If your pot is large enough to take on both fish and can be placed inside the oven, add the fish into the pot and shove it into the hellfire 😉 – if not, take some aluminum foil, put it on a backing tray and coat it with some olive oil. Put both fish onto the backing tray and put that into the hellfire… you see: the fish cannot escape, no matter if you have a matching pot…

The fish takes about 20 minutes to cook – if your oven has a built-in BBQ Grill, you can use it to give the bacon the last touch.

Finishing the Scallops

While the fish is in the oven, you can finish the scallops. They only take about five minutes (not more!) and you may want to time them with the fish being ready so they do not have to sit around and wait.

Just heat up a pan and – when hot – add the scallops. They have been marinated in olive oil so no extra oil is needed. 2 minutes per side should be sufficient (but it depends a bit on the size of the scallops!). After you have given both sides of the scallops about 2 minutes to fry, add the butter and the lemon (maybe give it a bit of a squeeze) and continue to fry the scallops until they show a light brown color.

By now, your fish should also be good to go (it is all about timing) and you can add the fish, the salad and the scallops, fine tune that with some salt and pepper and serve it. Enjoy!

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