I am glad to share this featured recipe of fish al cartoccio by Adrian Hili with you, my lovely readers. I strongly encourage you to give it a try as it takes neither time, nor efforts for preparation, at the same time fills the fish with succulent aromatic Mediterranean flavours. Enjoy!
Wild Maltese Seabass fillet baked in a “bag”
- 2 wild seabass fillets around 250g (scaled and deboned)
- salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 table spoons olive oil
- 1 glass dry white wine (Neptunus Vermentino)
- 1 handful of stoned Maltese black olives
- 1 clove Maltese garlic peeled and finely chopped
- teaspoon dry chilli flakes
- handful of soft fresh aromatic herbs (marjoram, basil or oregano work best or a combination of them)
- 2 tablespoons of Maltese extra virgin olive oil
- 10 cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 lemon
- Salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper
First make a marinade for the tomatoes by combining the olives, garlic, chilli, herbs and Extra virgin olive oil in a bowl. Add the tomatoes and rest for 1/2 and hour before seasoning and lemon juice.
You will need 2 pieces of kitchen foil approximately 40cm long. Place the half of the marinade in the center of the right hand half with one seasoned seabass fillet on top. Fold over the left hand half and seal the two sides by folding over tightly to gently hug the fish. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and half the wine and seal the remaining side. Repeat for the other fillet.
Bake in the oven at 250C for 10 mins. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 4 minutes without opening.
At the restaurant they open the bag and plate the contents with some wilted Maltese spinach or roasted potatoes to soak up the juices, however at home it’s nice to open the bag at the table and savour the amazing aromas being released from the bag!
I served the fish with wilted spinach which is so easy to make:
- Take a pack of a local spinach (usually it is 1 kg). Remove any large stems and chop the leaves coarsely. Wash spinach very well, changing the water few times. Drain well.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan and place over a moderate heat. Add garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add a spinach and cover the pan. Turn the spinach few times to make sure it will cook evenly. Season with salt and pepper.