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.
- 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
- Mince the rosemary needles, we used a 'mezzaluna' knife, but a chef knife will do.
- Peel and wash the potatoes.
- 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.
- Allow the slices to rest on a towel and pat them dry with some paper towel.
- Line the bottom and sides of a large bowl with potato slices and dress with a sprinkle of olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped rosemary.
- 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.
- Put the fish fillets, skin down, on lightly oiled parchment paper, season them with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
- Cover each fillet with partially overlapped potato slices.
- Cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes at 200 C.
- Serve accompanied with a green salad.