- Olive oil, for greasing and drizzling
- 4 small whole sea bass, each about 300g once gutted, cleaned and head and tail removed (ask your fishmonger to do this for you)
- 2 fennel bulbs, halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 lemons, thinly sliced
- 25g bunch of fresh dill
- 25g bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 4 bay leaves
- 200ml white wine
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Smear the base of 1-2 large roasting tin with a little olive oil. Season the inside of each sea bass, then place them in the roasting tin.
Fill the cavity of each fish with the fennel and lemon slices, then tuck in the dill, parsley, thyme and bay. Scatter over any remaining fennel, lemon and herbs and pour over the wine. Drizzle each fish with a little olive oil and season well.
Cover the whole tin tightly with foil and bake for 25-35 minutes, basting the fish with the pan juices halfway, depending on the size of the fish – you want the fish to feel firm to the touch, with the meat opaque and moist. Carefully transfer the fish to a board and cover loosely with foil to keep hot.
Make a quick sauce from the pan juices. Place the tin over the hob and boil for a few minutes, until the juices are reduced slightly and well-flavoured. Whisk in a couple of cubes of butter to thicken if required. Strain into a jug.
Transfer the fish to warmed serving plates and to serve, pour a little of the sauce over each sea bass, then drizzle with some extra oil. Goes well with crushed new potatoes.