Baked Bream Recipe – Madrid Style

Dorada a la Madrileña

In spite of lying more than 300km from the sea, Madrid has an insatiable appetite for seafood. Its wholesale fish market is the 2nd largest in the world and Madrileños are amongst the highest consumers of fish per capita in Europe. Whilst the city is home to some superb Galician restaurants such as O’Pazo and Ribeira Do Miño, there are many mid-range eateries and tapas bars serving excellent fish and seafood dishes.

Popular seafood dishes such as deep-fried squid (calamares a la romana) and garlic prawns (gambas al ajillo) appear on the menu of many of the capital’s tapas bars whilst a number of restaurants specialise in paellas such as the excellent Casa de Valencia. Oven baked sea bream has long been a favourite in traditional Madrid restaurants where it is usually listed as ‘Besugo a la Madrileña’.

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In our version of this classic recipe we’ve used ‘dorada’ rather than ‘besugo’ simply because it’s more commonly available in fish shops. Both fish are types of sea bream and for the purpose of this recipe they are interchangeable. In fact, this is a very versatile recipe which you can cook with bream, bass or any other white fish. If you prefer to avoid the fish bones you can cook the dish with fillets rather than the whole fish which you’d normally get in Madrid restaurants.

Baked Bream Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 2 whole bream, cleaned and scaled
  • salt
  • 4 thin lemon wedges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1 bay leaf, in small bits
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 150ml white wine
  • freshly ground black pepper.
Baked Bream Fish Recipe

Cooking Method

Place the fish on a plate or dish with a lip. Make two diagonal cuts on one side of each of the fish and push a wedge of lemon into each cut. Pour the lemon juice over the fish and leave for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Mix the breadcrumbs, parsley, bay leaf bits and crushed or chopped garlic in a bowl.

Pour the oil into a flameproof dish and heat the oil by putting the dish in the hot oven for a few minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, place the fish in it and cover them with the breadcrumb, parsley and garlic mix.

Pour the wine round the fish and put the dish on a hot stove and bring to the boil.

Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for about half an hour. You should spoon the wine over the fish a couple of times and you may find you have to add more wine at some stage.

This dish could be accompanied by boiled baby potatoes, green salad or vegetables.

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