Say goodbye to the traditional roast chicken and hello to this alternative Sunday lunch. Sea bream is the hero of the dish – easily roasted and served with a creamy, wine-filled sauce. Your favourite side, the potato, is cooked till crunchy and topped with samphire. Bliss.
Vegetable oil for roasting and frying
1.3kg maris piper potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1cm cubes
Small bunch fresh rosemary sprigs
180g samphire (from fishmongers, greengrocers and supermarkets)
3 garlic cloves (2 crushed, 1 bruised)
2 x 500-600g whole sea bream, gutted and scales removed
Finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon, plus wedges to serve
30g butter, cubed
For the sauce
Vegetable oil for frying
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
200ml dry white wine
100g butter, cubed
2 tbsp double cream
Handful fresh chives, snipped
Handful fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
Small handful fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
Lemon juice to taste
01.Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Heat a generous glug of oil in a large roasting tray, then add the potatoes and toss to coat in the oil. Season with salt and pepper, then roast for 35 minutes.
02.For the sauce, heat a little oil in a saucepan, then add the shallots and fry for 3-4 minutes until softening. Add the crushed garlic clove, vinegar and wine, then bring to the boil. Bubble for 10-15 minutes until the liquid has reduced by a quarter.
03.Slowly whisk in the 100g butter, 2 cubes at a time, adding more only when the butter has melted into the sauce. Once all the butter has been whisked in, keep warm over a very low heat until you’ve cooked the fish.
04.After the potatoes have been in the oven for 35 minutes, remove them and toss in the hot oil with most of the rosemary sprigs, the samphire and 2 crushed garlic cloves.
05.Heat the grill to a high setting. Heat a glug of oil in an ovenproof frying pan large enough to hold both fish. Add the bruised garlic clove and the rest of the rosemary, then gently fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from the heat, then add both fish to the pan with the lemon zest and juice. Dot the 30g butter over the top.
06.Put the fish under the grill and the potatoes underneath, at the bottom of the oven/grill. Cook for 14-15 minutes until the fish is golden and cooked through; it should flake easily. If your grill is very hot, you may need to lower the fish and cook them for a minute less as well as put some foil over the potatoes.
07.To serve, stir the cream and all the chopped fresh herbs into the butter sauce, then season to taste with salt and lemon juice. Serve half a fish per person with plenty of roast potatoes and samphire, with the sauce drizzled over the top and lemon wedges to squeeze over.