Dreaming of lazy holidays on the Amalfi Coast leave me drooling over the aroma of charred grilled fish. The blackened skin, singed herbs and sweet aroma of perfectly cooked flesh combined with an irresistible hint of fruity lemon zest makes my mouth water.

The theatre of immaculately dressed waiters proudly presenting the fish then whisking it away to fillet it, returning with a scrap of fish drives me mad. I’d far rather tackle the fish myself and take the risk of a few bones having to be discretely removed from my mouth as I unwrap the flesh from the crispy, charred skin package.

It makes the experience all the more delicious.

It is really easy to roast a whole fish at home. As the skin quickly crisps up it acts as a package to protect the flesh inside as it cooks, leaving it moist and delicious.


2 whole sea bass, bream or wild trout, gutted and scaled

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 fennel bulb

Fresh herbs; fennel fronds, lemon thyme, parsley

1 unwaxed lemon

Extra virgin Olive oil

dry white wine

Pre-heat oven Gas 8 /230C

Prepare an oiled baking tray with a shallow lip.

Remove the fish from the fridge an hour before cooking.

Wash inside and out with cold water and pat dry.

Use a sharp knife, not serrated, to slash the skin 3 times on each side taking care not to cut into the flesh.

Rub well with sea salt inside and out.

Add a good grating fresh black pepper.

Remove the fronds from the fennel and any course outer parts.

Cut in half, remove the core and slice thinly.

Layer half the fennel on the tray stuffing the rest into the cavities of the fish.

Pack with the fennel fronds, lemon thyme and parsley.

Lay onto the fennel on the baking tray and grate on the zest of the lemon.

Slice the lemon thinly and layer inside the fish.

Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil.

Roast on the top shelf of the oven for 10 minutes.

Add a good splash of dry white wine and roast for further 10 minutes or so until the skin is crisp and blackened and the flesh is white and opaque.

Check near the bone under the head to make sure there is no trace of blood to ensure it is cooked.

Serve each fish on an extra-large plate.

Remove the head and tail and gently and ease off the top skin to reveal the cooked flesh nestling on top of the bone.

Spoon the oily juices and cooked fennel over the fish to catch all the delicious flavours.