Pesce Lupo Al Forno (Baked Sea Bass With Sage)

"If you never have tried to cook a whole fish, try this easy to make Italian styled fish recipe. It is done is less than 30 minutes and comes out with one of the most wonderful flavours. The sage in here will make it special. I love the delicate flavours of sea bass, but you could use any other whole fish (you just have to adapt baking time). Serve this recipe with a green salad and a lot of bread for dipping up the butter sage sauce."
photo by Thorsten photo by Thorsten
photo by Thorsten
Ready In:


  • 1 (1 1/2 lb) sea bass (gut and scales removed)
  • 5 sprigs sage (about 8-10 inches long)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons coarse breadcrumbs (see note)
  • 12 lemon
  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven (425°F, 220°C).
  • In a suited oven proved dish melt 1 tablespoon butter in the olive oil.
  • Cut the lemon into slices.
  • Clean sea bass and sprinkle some salt into the cavity and also 1 sprig sage.
  • Coat the fin tail completely with salt. This looks pretty and will avoid the fin tail from burning while baking.
  • Turn the fish in the butter-olive oil mixture on both sides and put fish into the dish. Slightly salt and pepper the upper side.
  • Put fish in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Take fish out of the oven and turn it over. Arrange the four remaining sage sprigs around and under the fish. Add the lemon slices, but put them more on the border of the dish.
  • Now cover the upper side with the bread crumbs and press them slightly on the fish, so that they stick better.
  • Arrange the remaining tablespoon of butter on the breadcrumbs and put the fish again into the oven for another 10 minutes or until fish is done.
  • Fish is done, when dorsal fin can be removed easily.
  • Serve very hot with the butter still sizzling.
  • Note on BREAD CRUMBS: I make them on my own, because for this dish they should be coarse. Take dried white bread and cut it into very thin slices. Then break it into larger bread crumbs.
  • Note on the oven proved dish: I use an oven proved serving platter for this recipe. So I can serve it right out of the oven. An oven proved pan gives it a more rustic view.

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