25th July 2013

Grilled sea bream (Dorade)

By MaitreMarcel

For me, Summer time is about light meals with fresh ingredients. About barbecues and plancha’s where you do not need to cook with fat, and the only olive oil you use goes over a salad.
It also reminds me of great days spent along the Mediterranean coast, eating grilled fish at restaurants. I often went to Cannes, not for the film festival but a multi media fair, and it was sheer pleasure to share some fish and wine with other people at an outside table in early Summer.

The problem with fish in the Summer, though, is that it goes off very quickly in the heat and you need to take good care. I buy my fish on the market so I go early instead of waiting for lunchtime when the fish has spent several hours on the stalls, be it on a bed of ice.

At home, I put it straight into the refrigerator.
I usually ask the fishmonger not to clean the fish, because I prefer to do it myself but if you usually ask for fish to be cleaned, please keep the scales on the outside for grilling. A de-scaled fish burns quicker on the fire (If you were too late and the fish is cleaned and scaled, then wrap it in aluminium foil before you put it on the fire).

In France, the fish most used for grilling are sardines, salmon, tuna and swordfish steaks and the Mediterranean classic of dorade/daurade – sea bream.


  • One small sea bream per person
  • Lemon
  • Pepper
  • Raw ginger


  1. Wash the fish under running water, make a small lengthwise incision between its cloaca (anus) and pelvic fin, and remove the intestines with your finger or with paper cloth. (Farmed fish have relatively clean intestines due to their diet). Rinse with water. Leave the head and tail on.
  2. Put a slice of lemon, some raw ginger and some pepper in the cavity. (If you happen to have any dried fennel branches, that would go very nice as well).
  3. Put the fish on a double-sided wire rack for easy turning.
  4. Put the rack on the grill, turn every five minutes until the fish is done, which will take between 20 and 30 minutes. Re-position the fish on the fire if there are areas that cook less fast, turn down heat or turn the fish in case the skin burns or blackens.
  5. Off the fire, let the fish cool for five minutes and serve.