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Baked Sea Bass

ingredients

1.4 kg (3 lb) fresh sea bass or 2 x 750 g (1 1/2 lb) sea bass, gutted
2 - 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 lemon, sliced thinly
2 tbsp olive oil

garlic sauce

2 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp capers
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tbsp water
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp lemon juice or wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
pepper

to garnish

bay leaves lemon wedges

method

1. Scrape off the scales from the fish and cut off the sharp fins. Make diagonal cuts along both sides. Wash and dry thoroughly. Place a sprig of rosemary in the cavity of each of the smaller fish with half the lemon slices; or two sprigs and all the lemon in the large fish.

2. To grill (broil), place in a foil-lined pan, brush lightly with 1 - 2 tablespoons oil and grill (broil) under a moderate heat for about 5 minutes each side or until cooked through, turning carefully.

3. To bake: place the fish in a foil-lined dish or roasting tin brushed with oil, and brush the fish with the rest of the oil. Cook in a preheated oven, 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 for about 30 minutes for the small fish or 45-50 minutes for the large fish, until the thickest part of the fish is opaque.

4. For the sauce: crush the salt and capers with the garlic in a pestle and mortar if available and then gradually work in the water. Alternatively, put it all into a food processor or blender and switch on until smooth.

5. Bruise the bay leaves and remaining sprigs of rosemary and put in a bowl. Add the garlic mixture, lemon juice or vinegar and oil and pound together until the flavours are released. Season with pepper.

6. Place the fish on a serving dish and, if liked, carefully remove the skin. Spoon some of the sauce over the fish and serve the rest separately. Garnish with fresh bay leaves and lemon wedges.

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