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How to Cook Sea Bream (With Recipes)

Gordon has been sea fishing and cooking since childhood. He loves coming up with tasty ways of cooking his fresh catch when he gets home.

Pan fried sea bream fillets with salad and bruschetta

Pan fried sea bream fillets with salad and bruschetta

Sea bream are one of those types of fish which are often under-rated and sometimes even neglected for cooking and eating purposes. They are generally not seen as being particularly fashionable or tasty but can still prove a little bit expensive to buy from supermarkets in comparison to other similar species of white fish. This page is devoted to looking at how to best prepare sea bream for cooking as well as providing a number of simple and tasty recipes for enjoying these fish at their best, either whole or in filleted form. Hopefully, you will soon find out how delicious and versatile the humble sea bream can be.

Fresh sea bream

Fresh sea bream

Whole Baked Sea Bream With Fusilli Pasta

Oven baked whole sea bream served wimply with some fusilli pasta, sun dried tomatoes in olive oil and black olives

Oven baked whole sea bream served wimply with some fusilli pasta, sun dried tomatoes in olive oil and black olives

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20 min

Ready in: 30 min

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • 1 sea bream, scaled and gutted
  • ½ lemon, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 4 ounces fusilli pasta
  • 6 pitted black olives
  • 4 sun-dried tomato pieces
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley, approximately
  1. While you are waiting for your oven to preheat to 400F/200C, scale the sea bream if this hasn't already been done and cut the fins off using a pair of kitchen scissors. Using scissors for this task makes the job both safer and easier. A knife should be used only to carefully cut the eyes out of the fish.
  2. Drizzle the base of an ovenproof dish with olive oil and lay in the bream on one side. Season the bream inside and on top with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Stuff a couple of halved lemon slices in the cavity and lay the rest on top. Drizzle with a little more olive oil.
  3. Bake the fish in the hot oven for twenty minutes.
  4. The pasta should be added to a deep pot of heavily salted water for ten minutes. It should then be carefully drained and returned to the pot.
  5. The black olives, sun-dried tomato and most of the parsley should be stirred through the pasta before it is added to a small serving bowl.
  6. Take the fish from the oven. Test it is done by piercing the thickest part with a metal skewer. Minimal resistance shows it is done. Lift it very carefully with a fish slice or spatula to a serving plate and garnish with the remaining parsley.
  7. Some people will wonder where the accompanying sauce is for this dish. The fact is that basic, natural ingredients simply cooked and served like this don't need a sauce but of course, a simple one could be prepared and incorporated if particularly desired.

How to Fillet a Sea Bream

Sea bream is a type of fish that is very often sold whole (having simply been gutted) and cooked in a fashion similar to that featured immediately above. It is possible, however, to easily take a couple of nice fillets from a sea bream of even modest size and cook them in a number of more imaginative ways. Below are instructions on how to fillet a sea bream, followed by a number of recipe suggestions. You could always, of course, ask your fishmonger to undertake the filleting on your behalf.

  1. Gut and scale the sea bream. While supermarket or fishmonger bought bream will already have been gutted, they may not have been scaled and it is far easier to scale before filleting than after.
  2. Cut all the fins from the fish with kitchen scissors.
  3. Lay the bream on its side and make a semi-circular almost cut around the head behind the gills and through to the bone. Do refer to the pictures above for guidance as you follow these instructions.
  4. Starting behind the head, slice down through the back (immediately on top of centre) away from the head, allowing the bones to guide your knife. Slowly—making a series of cuts all in the same direction—slice the first fillet from the fish, always allowing the bones to be your guide.
  5. Turn the fish over and do exactly the same on the second side.
  6. Using a small pair of tweezers or similar, carefully pull the pinbones from the centre of each fillet, always pulling the bones free in the direction in which they are lying to avoid unnecessary damage to the flesh.
  7. Wash the fillets carefully in a bowl of cold water and pat them dry with kitchen paper.

Sea Bream Fillets With Salad and Bruschetta

Pan fried sea bream fillets on a simple leafy salad with bruschetta

Pan fried sea bream fillets on a simple leafy salad with bruschetta

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 5 min

Ready in: 10 min

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • 2 sea bream fillets, skin on
  • plain/all-purpose flour for dusting
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • a generous handful of mixed fresh salad leaves
  • 1 ciabatta bread roll
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and lightly crushed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Scatter a couple of tablespoons of flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Bring a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil up to a medium to high heat in a frying pan.
  2. Pat the fillets on their skin sides only in the flour. Gently shake off any excess and lay them skin sides down in the hot pan. Keep the heat fairly high, as the skin will protect the flesh of the bream.
  3. When you can see the fillets are cooked almost all the way through, turn off the heat under the pan and push it to a cool part of the hob/stove before carefully turning the fillets on to their flesh sides for about thirty seconds to complete cooking in the residual heat.
  4. Cut the ciabatta roll in half and lightly toast. Rub the cut sides with the crushed garlic clove, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Wash the salad leaves, shake dry, season and lay on a plate as a bed for the bream fillets. Lay the bruschetta alongside to serve.

Curried Sea Bream Fillets With Naan Bread

Curry marinated sea bream fillets are shallow fried and served with naan bread and cucumber and mint raita

Curry marinated sea bream fillets are shallow fried and served with naan bread and cucumber and mint raita

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 5 min

Ready in: 10 min

Yields: One serving

Ingredients

  • 2 sea bream fillets, skin on
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon medium chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons cucumber and mint raita
  • 1 naan bread, sliced to serve
  1. Spoon all the spices into a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stir to fully combine.
  2. Lay the sea bream fillets skin side down on a plate and evenly scatter quarter the spice combination over each fillet. Gently rub into the flesh of the fish. (Ideally, this should be done about an hour in advance and the fish covered to dry marinate).
  3. Add the remaining spice mixture to the flour and scatter on a plate. Bring some vegetable oil up to a fairly high heat in a frying pan.
  4. Pat the bream fillets on their skin sides in the spiced flour and fry on the skin side until almost done. As in the previous recipe, turn off the heat and allow to complete cooking on the flesh sides for half a minute or so.
  5. Spoon the raita into a ramekin to serve and heat the naan bread per the instructions on the pack before slicing to plate with the bream fillets.

How to Skin Sea Bream Fillets

There are certain recipes where it is desirable to not only fillet the sea bream but subsequently skin the fillets. This would be particularly appropriate where the fillets are to be deep or shallow fried in breadcrumbs or batter. The good news is that this is an extremely quick and easy procedure.

Starting to skin a sea bream fillet

Starting to skin a sea bream fillet

  1. Lay the fillet to be skinned skin side down on a chopping board, narrow (tail) end nearest to your weaker hand.
  2. Pinch the tail end of the fillet in your weaker hand and make an angled away from your hand nick with a filleting knife through the flesh to the skin.
  3. Moving the filleting knife backwards and forwards, at right angles to the fillet, pull the skin in the opposite direction from which you are slicing.
  4. When you reach the head end of the fillet, lift the flesh up and discard the skin.
Skinned sea bream fillets

Skinned sea bream fillets

Breaded Sea Bream Fillets With Chips and Peas

Sea bream fillets simply fried in breadcrumbs and served with chips and peas

Sea bream fillets simply fried in breadcrumbs and served with chips and peas

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min*

Cook time: 10 min*

Ready in: 15 min*

Yields: One serving

*Does not include chip preparation/cooking time

Ingredients

  • 2 skinned sea bream fillets
  • 1 egg, beaten in a flat-bottomed bowl
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • homemade chips to serve
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons frozen peas
  • malt vinegar
  • lemon wedge to garnish
  1. Pour a little vegetable oil into a frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat.
  2. Season the beaten egg with salt and pepper and scatter the breadcrumbs on a plate.
  3. Draw the sea bream fillets through the beaten egg before patting in the breadcrumbs on both sides to evenly coat. Lay in the frying pan to fry for three to four minutes on each side until the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden.
  4. When the bream fillets have been turned in the frying pan, add the frozen peas to a large pot of boiling water to simmer for three minutes before they are drained to serve.
  5. Plate the bream fillets and arrange the chips and peas alongside. Season with salt and malt vinegar before garnishing the fish with the lemon wedge.

© 2013 Gordon Hamilton

Comments

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on March 01, 2016:

Salmon is pretty different gerimcclym and some of these recipes wouldn't be suitable but many different white fish types would work very well. Hope you get a chance to try them out :)

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on March 01, 2016:

Thank you very much, Marlene. Yes, using scissors really makes life a lot easier when removing the fins from a great many different types of fish. It's just one of the tricks I've picked up over the years...

Geri McClymont on February 03, 2016:

I don't think I've ever tried sea bream but I do love fish -especially salmon and tilapia- which are readily available where I live. I like how you included several different recipes for sea bream -they all look very tasty! I'll keep my eyes open for this type of fish and if I don't find it, I may try your recipes with tilapia or another type of fish. Congratulations on HOTD -- well deserved.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 03, 2016:

Gordon, congrats on HOTD! I never heard of bream. But those recipes look good enough to eat. I'll pass on the chili powder once again!

Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 03, 2016:

I have never ever heard of this fish until today, reading your hub. Your explanations for preparing and cooking are excellent. I absolutely love the idea of using scissors to cut off the fin. Congratulations on receiving the Hub of the Day award for this fabulous, informative hub.

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on December 21, 2013:

Thanks torrilynn. I hope sea bream is a fish you get to try.

torrilynn on December 20, 2013:

I never knew seam bream was a fish. Actually, I've never heard of sea bream until I came across this hub. thanks for the read and for the recipe. voted up and pinned.

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on December 19, 2013:

Thanks randomcreative and peachpurple. I don't know why sea bream is not more popular but since creating these ideas I know I will be eating it more often. Hope you get the chance to give it a try.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 18, 2013:

thanks for your step by step photo. This dish is very appealing for dinner

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 17, 2013:

I've never had sea bream, but I'm intrigued now! As always, I appreciate all of your detailed instructions and range of recipes.

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on December 13, 2013:

Hope you enjoyed your breakfast tirelesstraveler and that seafood restaurant sounds like a great experience. I'm jealous! Hope you manage to get a hold of bream sometime. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Judy Specht from California on December 13, 2013:

Sitting here drooling, guess I should go eat breakfast. Never heard of Bream, but will keep my eyes open. We are going to the ocean this evening an will eat at a seafood restaurant. Thank you for detailing the filleting and skinning. '