Potato Crusted Sea Bream (Orata in Crosta di Patate)

During my last Italy trip, I got a chance to document the making of a dish that has become a staple in my family: potato-crusted sea bream. Based on a quick search, it appears to be quite popular in Italy and it has started to be featured internationally on restaurant menus.

Quite possibly, the diffusion of this preparation follows the increased popularity of Orata (Gilt-head sea bream) and Branzino (European seabass), two kinds of marine white fish that are delicately flavored and low in fat, but still moist and tender.

This is my mother’s take on the dish, a festive second course that showcases its simple but noble ingredients.

Potato Crusted Sea Bream (Orata in Crosta di Patate)

Yield: 3 servings

Total Time: 1 hour

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Potato Crusted Sea Bream (Orata in Crosta di Patate)


  • 3 sea bream fillets, skin on, can also use seabass
  • 3 yellow potatoes, sliced 3-4 mm (1/8 inch) thick
  • 3-4 rosemary twigs, needles detached and finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt & white pepper


  1. Mince the rosemary needles, we used a 'mezzaluna' knife, but a chef knife will do.
  2. Peel and wash the potatoes.
  3. Slice the potatoes. We used a food processor with a slicing blade, but a mandoline slicer works too. It's important that the slices are not too thin and not too thick, therefore slicing them by hand is not advisable.
  4. Allow the slices to rest on a towel and pat them dry with some paper towel.
  5. Line the bottom and sides of a large bowl with potato slices and dress with a sprinkle of olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped rosemary.
  6. Then add another layer of potato slices and repeat the seasoning. Continue until you've used all potato slices, then gently slide them around in the bowl to complete the seasoning. Preheat the oven at 200 C.
  7. Put the fish fillets, skin down, on lightly oiled parchment paper, season them with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
  8. Cover each fillet with partially overlapped potato slices.
  9. Cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes at 200 C.
  10. Serve accompanied with a green salad.
Paolo Rigiroli

Author: Paolo Rigiroli

Now based in the UK, Paolo is an Italian who lived in Canada for nearly 18 years and blogs about Italian food and its many aberrations.

3 thoughts on “Potato Crusted Sea Bream (Orata in Crosta di Patate)”

  1. Definitely making this soon, Paolo. Will need to use sea bass, as you suggest, but I know it will work well. What did your mother serve as a contorno?

    1. The potatoes are already a contorno, really, but a green salad of chicory, sliced and with a drop of red wine vinegar, salt, and good olive goes really well. Let me know how you will like it!

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