Recipe: Whole baked fish with lemon and ouzo by Catherine Phipps

24 February 2017 by
Recipe: Whole baked fish with lemon and ouzo by Catherine Phipps

This is one of the easiest ways to cook fish. It is also a complete, one-pot dish, although you can bake the fish separately, wrapped in foil, if you prefer. I normally make this with lemon, but it is also good with fragrant mandarins, which work well with aniseedy ouzo.

Serves 4

  • 1kg new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2tbs olive oil, plus extra for the fish and capers
  • 30g butter
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, broken up into cloves, left unpeeled
  • 1 large sea bass or similar (around 1kg) or 2 smaller, cleaned and descaled
  • A few sprigs of thyme and/or lemon thyme and dill
  • 100ml white wine
  • 50ml ouzo or other anise-based spirit
  • 2tbs capers
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the lemon and ouzo sauce

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 200ml neutral-tasting oil, such as sunflower or groundnut
  • 50ml Greek yogurt
  • 2tbs ouzo or similar anise-based spirit
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • A pinch of sugar (optional)
  • 1tbs finely chopped dill
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds, finely crushed (optional)

Whole baked fish with lemon and ouzo by Catherine Phipps
Whole baked fish with lemon and ouzo by Catherine Phipps
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes in plenty of salted water until just tender. Run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Squash in your hands so they break roughly in half, then put in a roasting tin.

Heat the olive oil and the butter together until the butter has melted, then add the lemon zest and juice. Pour all but a tablespoon of this mixture over the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic cloves, reserving a couple for the fish. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

Cut a few slits into the fish on both sides. Peel and finely slice the reserved garlic and stuff some into the slits along with a few herb sprigs. Put the lemon slices, more herbs and a few more slices of garlic in the cavity of the fish.

Put the fish on top of the potatoes, then drizzle over the reserved tablespoon of lemony butter and a little more olive oil. Mix the wine and ouzo together and pour this over the fish and potatoes. Roast in the oven for a further 25-30 minutes until the fish is just cooked through.

For the caper garnish, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. When very hot, add the capers - they will splutter for a few moments. When it subsides, remove from the heat. Pour over the fish and serve immediately.

Recipe taken from Citrus by Catherine Phipps. Photography by Mowie Kay

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