This is one of the most memorable simple dishes I made this Summer and I made it again last week when I had a group of friends round for dinner.

Freshness is everything about this dish because when the fish is fresh, it has a juicy texture and delicate flavour. As it ages, it becomes strong-tasting, dried out and smelly which isn’t as good flavour-wise or health wise because the delicate fats which offer amazing health benefits become rancid.

Whole sea bream with parsley & sundried tomatoes, sea bream recipe, healthy sea bream dish

A few tell tell signs that will help you to identify whether a fish is fresh which I learnt at the Cookery School over at Billingsgate Fish Market:

    • Make sure the fish has no fishy smell, it should smell like the sea.
    • It’s eyes should be clear and shiny, not cloudy or glazed and they should pop out rather than be sunken.
    • It should have red gills which indicates it was alive recently. On the other hand if they ae grey in colour then the fish has been dead for a long time.
    • Whole fish should be fairly stiff. Press the fish lightly, it should be form and slightly rubbery to touch.
    • Fresh fish should look wet and shiny, like it’s just come out of the water.
    • Scaly fish should have all their scales intact, not patchy and rubbed off.
    • Finally, look how neatly the fish are laid out on display at the fishmongers as it shows how much the fishmonger cares about what he or she’s selling. This is why I chose to buy from James Nash & Son Ltd. at Billingsgate Market when I first visited the market as their display was the cleanest and the fish looked the freshest and most well presented. I later found out from the Cookery School that it was the best stall….so go with your gut instinct. If a display is messy and the fish are piled up carelessly then imagine what goes on behind the scenes!

I made the fish with an amazing collection of salads, from chargrilled courgettes with rocket to a tomato and basil salad with extra virgin olive oil. and we had empty plates all round so they were either very polite guests or they all loved it. As a host, it was a perfect dish to cook as all the salads can be made in advance and the fish only took 12 minutes in total so I made it fresh there and then, whilst still being able to enjoy the company of my friends.

Whole sea bream with parsley & sundried tomatoes, sea bream recipe, healthy sea bream dish

Share your recreations of this recipe with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #Jessipes and tag me using @JessipesRecipes in your posts so I can see this amazing dish getting the fame it deserves. I love seeing them, or post your comments below!

All the healthy best,

Jess x

Whole sea bream with parsley & sundried tomatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 servings
  • 2 medium sea bream, about 400g each
  • himalayan salt
  • 1 handful flat parsley, finely chopped
  • 8 sundried tomatoes
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 lemons
  1. If your fish isn't already cleaned and de-scaled then clean the fish by cutting the fish lengthways from it's head to it's bottom. Remove the insides and clean the inside with a dry cloth or a piece of kitchen paper. It's important to make sure that the fish is dry so it doesn't create steam and stick to the pan.
  2. De-scale the fish by running the knife horizontally up the body from the bottom to the head 'against the grain'.
  3. Season the fish with salt and pepper and stuff the middle with 4 sundried tomatoes per fish and place on a preheated medium to high heat griddle pan or barbecue.
  4. Leave the fish to cook for 6 minutes on each side. Don't be tempted to move the fish part way through the cooking time.
  5. Turn the fish gently once your 6 minutes is up so to not tear the lovely flesh.
  6. To check if the sea bream is cooked, make a tiny incision through the spine. You want the fish to be white, not clear, but still most.
  7. Mix up the finely chopped parsley, crushed garlic and juice from 1 lemon and drizzle over the skin.
  8. Serve with lemon and enjoy!