Roasted Sea Bass


This whole fish is roasted with tomato, lime, onions, thyme, olive oil and white wine.


  • 1 (about 2 pounds, 10 ounces) sea bass, cleaned, scaled, and gutted

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 small fresh red chiles

  • 20 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 lime, thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced ¼ inch thick

  • 1 large onion, sliced crosswise ⅛ inch thick

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sweet white wine, such as a sweet Riesling

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


  1. Preheat the broiler. Score sea bass at 1-inch intervals. Brush the inside cavity of the fish with olive oil, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Place chile peppers and 10 thyme sprigs inside the cavity. Brush both sides of the fish with olive oil, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper.

  2. In a 10-by-18-inch roasting pan, or one large enough to hold the fish, arrange lime, tomato, and onion slices so they form a bed for the fish, and season them with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place the fish on top, and pour 6 tablespoons olive oil over fish.

  3. Transfer the roasting pan to the broiler, and cook fish for 10 minutes, until the skin is slightly crisp on top. Lower the oven to 400 degrees. Add wine to the roasting pan, and return fish to the oven to roast. Roast until the fish is opaque and cooked through, about 35 minutes.

  4. Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer fish to a large serving dish.

  5. Pick 1 heaping teaspoon thyme leaves from remaining sprigs. Place the vegetables from the roasting pan into a sieve, and strain the juices into a bowl, pressing out any additional juices from the vegetables to create sauce. Stir the thyme leaves and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil into this sauce, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and add lime juice to taste. Gently reheat the sauce in a small saucepan over low heat, making sure not to let it boil. Fillet the fish, pour the sauce over, and serve.

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