Tuesday 5 June 2012

Fennel and Pancetta Baked Seabass

Firstly, apologies for the lack of blogging and general activity visiting other blogs etc - I have been too busy revising to make the effort of cooking anything more elaborate than an omelette, yet alone remembering to photograph what I've made! Also with lending my camera to my dad for several weeks didn't help! However one exam is out of the way, and my final one is approaching fast so I will be returning back to normal soon!!

Last year the very nice PR for Jamie Oliver sent me a copy of the Jamie's 30 Minute Meals and due to everything that's happened since this is a very delayed posting! Its been regularly flicked through and drooled over but I just hadn't quite gotten around to cooking from it.

One big thing that sets this book apart from other cookery books, is that whilst yes it’s a recipe book; they are grouped together and written so that you can make the whole meal, rather than trying to read 3-4 separate recipes and working out how to combine them best, so all the hard work is already done for you! Now its just hard to to decide what to make first as so many menu's are all delicious sounding!

I am quite relaxed in my cooking style and had no intention of sticking to the '30 minutes' given the size of my kitchen and lack of facilities nowadays to cook but overall I didn't do that badly for time at all! I think organisation plays a huge part, I daresay I could of done some prep to get ahead but as I was doing my own interpretation of the recipes it didn't really matter! 

And so finally last week a series of separate thought processes resulted in me finally using the book - I'd invited my dad around for dinner (aka bribery to help dreaded Maths revision!), he wanted fish. I also had a head of greens that mum had offloaded onto me, and I had a sweet potato bought from the market to make something else which hadn't quite happened. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I recalled Jamie making a fabulous looking 'crispy seabass with pancetta' on tv and dug out the book, and thus found the recipe. 

Whilst I borrowed most of the menu idea, this is my take on it, due to what I could actually buy at the time! It worked out cheaper to buy the seabass whole, compared to fillets, and now I've gone past the slightly squeamish 'its still got its head on' stage I love to cook it! Don't be scared - the fish remains so moist and is beautiful. Also I couldn't get smoked pancetta strips and had to use pancetta cubes. Oh and Jamie does 'asian greens' with the particular menu but I used the aforementioned greens instead, now I wasn't hugely keen on the asian dressing - was a bit oily for me and wouldn't do again, however it was all still eaten so semi successful!

Overall it was a success, my fish was absolutely beautiful, there is just a hint of fennel which works so well with fish, and the pancetta too added its own delicious element. Definitely will be making this one again!

Preheat oven to 180o


2 whole seabass, cleaned and gutted (your fishmonger will do this!)
100g pancetta cubes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp or so of butter
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
butter for greasing

In a small frying pan dry fry the pancetta until cooked through, reduce the heat, add the garlic, butter, about half the lemon juice - about 2 tbsp worth, bubble for around 30 seconds or until the butter has melted and allow to cool slightly, add a pinch of the lemon zest.

Butter two large sheets of foil, place a fish in the middle of each, make 3 slashes across the top. Fill the cavity with the bacon mixture and pour over any remaining juices and remaining lemon zest. Season. Sprinkle over the fennel seeds, seal the parcels well and place on a baking tray. Cook for 22-25 minutes depending on your oven - the fish should be opaque and just cooked.

Serve with your mash and greens as desired.

You can find his sweet potato mash recipe on line- I forgot to buy my coriander oops, and spent so long trying to chop it on the board it went a little cold...however it was still delicious! 


  1. I've got that book but yet to make anything from it! After seeing your fish dish I should, it looks lovely.

  2. Hey Nic, lovely to hear from you! Definitely worth starting the book with it, was so tasty :) x


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