When I’m feeling a bit low, I turn to my blue-sky thinking trick.

I close my eyes and mentally drift to re-visit my favourite holiday spots. At this time of year, I dream-travel to Sicily, to the Mercato at Ortygia in fact, just a stroll across the promontory from Siracusa. It never disappoints. Stall after stall, packed with all the flavours of the island; capers, every shape and size, huge, gnarled lemons piled in glorious mound, bottarga tuna roe; jewels of Sicilian cooking. Olives, brown and green, oiled and preserved, anything you want. Mountains of vegetables, whole carts of peaches, baskets laden with porcini.

A brazier with a bored old man roasting whole red onions; a queue of 20 people ensuring a sell out! And the most incredible fish stands with glistening prawns, crustacea, sea bass, and squid, tuna and swordfish eyeing you up, daring you to buy.

I feel better already!


Pre-heat oven 220C /Gas 7

Place a heavy baking tray in the oven.

4 x 180-200g pieces thick white fish, with skin on preferably: Hake, Cod, Halibut.

Sea salt

1 teaspoon salted capers, soaked for 15 minutes, drained, and chopped

1 tablespoon stoned black olives, in oil, cut into quarters

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

A handful leaves fresh mint and basil, chopped

1 unwaxed lemon, zest and juice

8 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters

4 tablespoons crunchy dried breadcrumbs

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper

Good splash dry white wine.

First job, check for any bones in the fish, wash in cold water and pat dry.

Rub with sea salt and set aside. Rinsing fish removes the flavour of stale water that inevitably gathers. Salting it pulls some of the water out of the fish and starts to firm and flavour the flesh.

Add all the chopped ingredients in a bowl adding the breadcrumbs last. Stir everything together and season well.

Rinse the fish, pat dry again.

Oil the hot baking tray and lay the fish on it, skin side down.

Season with black pepper and scatter the breadcrumb topping over each piece.

Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and finally add a good splash of white wine.

Roast in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Check the flesh is cooked by pushing a sharp knife in the thickest part. It should slide in easily with no resistance.

The flesh will be just cooked, moist and full of flavour; the topping will be crispy and toasted.

Best served with a simple wild rocket and cherry tomato salad.