Baked whole fish with roasted lemon, potato and dill recipe

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An impressive main dish that'll impress dinner guests


Baked whole fish with roasted lemon, potato and dill recipe

An impressive main dish that'll impress dinner guests

Roasting it on the bone is one of the easiest ways to cook fish – it also helps to keep moisture locked in the flesh of the fish. Cooking the fish together with the lemon and potatoes will give a bright, complex citrus flavour and wonderful cooking juices.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes




  • 500g waxy small potatoes, washed but unpeeled
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • ½ a small glass dry white wine (or use water or fish stock)
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 2 whole sea bream or bass (at least 600g each), gutted and scaled
  • Small bunch of dill, leaves roughly chopped, stalks kept


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/190C fan/Gas 6 and line a roasting tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Cut the potatoes into slices no thicker than a pound coin. Spread the potatoes evenly over the base of the lined roasting tin, coating them with half the olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt, some pepper, the spices and the wine.
  3. Cut the ends off the lemon about a quarter of the way from each end and put to one side to squeeze over later. Slice the middle of the lemon into four slices and lay on top of the potatoes, then cook in the oven for about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make three slits on each side of the fish. Season the fish inside and out with salt, pepper, half the dill and the rest of the oil, putting dill stalks into the belly of the fish.
  5. Put the fish on top of the potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes, until the fish is cooked and the potatoes are soft and browned at the edges. To check that the fish is done, the flesh near the bone at the thickest part of the fish should be opaque and hot to touch, and you should just be able to pull the flesh from the bone.
  6. Squeeze the juice from the reserved lemon ends over the fish and potatoes and add a drizzle of olive oil, then top with the rest of the chopped dill and serve immediately.

Recipe from The Lazy Weekend Cookbook by Matt Williamson (National Trust Books, £20). Order your copy from

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