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Whole Baked Sea Bass with Stuffing

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For the rice stuffing:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup basmati rice, washed, soaked for 30 minutes, and drained
1 tablespoon capers, soaked in water to remove the salt, and drained
10 black olives, pitted, and coarsely chopped
6 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped
20g Italian parsley, finely chopped
1½ cups vegetable stock, or water
1 teaspoon Himalayan rock salt
8 large bay leaves (fresh if available, dried if not)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 whole sea bass (around 1½ kg), with the centre bone removed but the head and tail intact


  • Start by making the rice stuffing. In a wok over a medium flame, heat the olive oil, and then add the onions. Cook for 3 minutes. Then, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the basmati and coat the grains with the olive oil, stirring continuously for about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients (the capers, olives, apricots, walnuts and parsley) and mix till everything is well combined. Transfer the whole lot to a rice cooker, add the stock (or you can use water) and salt. Give it a little stir and close to cook. When the rice is done, take out half of the rice and put it in a container to cool.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Place a length of aluminium foil or parchment paper (long enough to enclose the fish completely) on a baking tray. On the foil or paper, lay 4 bay leaves in a line, then sprinkle some salt over them and drizzle over half a tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the fish open on the
    bay leaves, then stuff the fish with the cooled rice stuffing, making sure you divide the rice equally along the length of the fish. Close the fish up, place the remaining bay leaves on the top of the fish, and sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil again. Carefully wrap the fish up well and bake for 35 minutes.
  • Serve the fish whole with the extra rice on the side.
Other Notes:

If you are unable to get sea bass, then the best alternative would be grouper or snapper. Also, if you can’t get one big 1.5kg fish, this recipe also works with 2 smaller ones. Just cook for 10 minutes less.