About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Baked Bluefish Fillets with Potatoes, Garlic and Olive oil, Genoese Style | Main | Baked Fillet of Sole with Tomato, Oregano and Hot Pepper »

Whole Sea Bass Baked with Artichokes

Well there were several "firsts" for me on this recipe!

1. I have never purchased a whole fish (with head and tail).
2. I have never COOKED a whole fish (with head and tail).
3. I have never EATEN (or ordered in a restaurant) a whole fish!
4. I have never cleaned medium-sized artichokes in this way.

Since I live in the desert, and our closest ocean is two hours away, I was thrilled that our fish store, The Fisherman, could order me a fresh 2 pound sea bass the day before I wanted to cook it.


I forced myself to even touch the dead little guy, but looked to make sure he had been gutted, as I was NOT going to do THAT! (Why do I have no problem butchering up meat? Because the thing is not LOOKING AT ME?)

Ok, all I had to do was wash and dry the bloody fish. (It WAS bloody. That is not British slang.) On to the artichokes...

The recipe called for 4 medium sized artichokes. They are trimmed, cleaned, with chokes removed, being rubbed with freshly squeezed lemon to prevent them from turning brown. Then they were thinly sliced. I had a great sous chef: Brad. As I trimmed and broke off the upper part of the leaves, he cleaned out the chokes and sliced.


The sliced artichokes go around the fish, with some stuffed inside the fish cavity. Then you prepare a simple mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and pour it over the fish and artichokes. Add some fresh rosemary, and bake. It went into the oven like this:


It came out looking like this:


Brad filleted the fish. It was tender and moist, and the artichokes were VERY lemony. I found the fish a little bland and under-seasoned. Sorry, Marcella, but this was NOT one of my favorites. I do like sea bass, but I shall let the true chefs prepare it for me in the future, or buy a fillet if I am in the mood to cook fish!


Comments (3)

Marcella Hazan:

Oh, Palma, I am no stranger to these hangups over fish heads and fish eyes. During my teaching years I had several thousand students come to study with me in Italy, the majority of them American, and a goodly number, certainly not all, shared the same fear. But I would never have expected it from someone who is of Italian backgorund and travels continually to Italy to eat. You've never had a whole branzino, an orata, an Adriatic sole, a rombo, grilled sardines, fried red mullets? What a waste of travel opportunities! I wonder too how you ever trimmed artichokes? Italian cooks know only one way. Incidentally, you left several tough leaves and it doesn't appear that you peeled the stems. Why is it so lemony? Did you squeeze rather than rub the lemon when you did the artichokes? Why is it bland? I didn't specify the amount of condiments so evidently you didn't use enough salt or you used a thin, bland olive oil or not enough of it. Your fish was not a sea bass, but a farmed striped bass, not very flavorful.

All true, Marcella!

We eat the huge artichokes, steamed. I never cleaned one before, except slicing off the top, and taking off a few bottom leaves. I also have taken out chokes and stuffed and baked them. I never bought small or medium ones. I think Brad was heavy-handed with the lemon (rubbing AND squeezing), but I ALWAYS use good olive oil.

Brad is the one who has ordered more fish in Italy during our travels. He has been disappointed twice, and so we have shied away from fish when here with the exception of shellfish. However, we did taste some good bacala the other night at the home of friends outside of Bassano del Grappa!

Emily Hamblen:

I was so interested in your post, Palma, when I saw that you had never trimmed artichokes. I have attempted this a few times in the past year or so and always find that I'm not ruthless enough. I tried it last week and braised them w/ potatoes (Marcella's recipe). Next time I will be just a bit more ruthless and I think they will turn out perfectly. I really want to conquer artichokes! It does seem so funny to throw out so much, but why bother cooking the parts that are inedible? (as Marcella says...) Ha ha. Thank your for posting this! Marcella's comment was very helpful to me as well. :)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 11, 2010 5:00 AM.

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