Ainsley Harriott’s Mediterranean sea bass and potato bake

Fresh flavours from the French island of Corsica.

You might not be able to go on holiday right now, but this classic fish dish inspired by the food of Corsica might transport you there.

“Sometimes it’s the simplicity of dishes that make them taste so delicious; pared-back cooking really allows the ingredients to shine,” says Ainsley Harriott.

This recipe also works well with bream or snapper, the chef adds – and Harriott says feel free to use the whole fish (cooked for 18-20 minutes) rather than just fillets.

(Serves 4)

4 sea bass fillets, skin on
2 lemons: 1 thinly sliced, 1 for squeezing
4 large waxy potatoes (Désirée work well), peeled and thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2tbsp olive oil
120ml white wine
2 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
3tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2tsp fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh bread, to serve

(Dan Jones/PA)


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Line an ovenproof dish with baking parchment. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and squeeze over a little lemon juice. Set aside.

2. Layer the potatoes and onions in the bottom of the lined ovenproof dish, season well with salt and black pepper, then add a layer of tomatoes.

3. Sprinkle over the garlic, then place a few lemon slices on top. Drizzle over the oil, squeeze over some more lemon juice and pour in the wine. Add the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, two tablespoons of the parsley and sprinkle over half of the marjoram leaves. Season well with salt and pepper, cover with foil and bake for 25–30 minutes.

4. Remove the dish from the oven and lay the fish fillets in the dish skin-side up. Sprinkle with the remaining marjoram and bake uncovered for a further 12–14 minutes or until the fish is cooked through (it should flake easily when cooked). Use a spatula or fish slice to carefully remove the fish from the dish, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm.

5. Return the vegetables to the oven to bake for a further four to five minutes (if needed) until the potatoes turn golden brown in places. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, scattered with the remaining fresh parsley, with some fresh bread on the side.

(Dan Jones/PA)

Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook by Ainsley Harriott, photography by Dan Jones, is published by Ebury Press, priced £20. Available now.