James Street South Cookery School: Barbecued bream, oven-roasted tomatoes

Niall McKenna's sea bream with lemon and capers

WITH the sun splitting the skies, we don't need an excuse to dine al fresco. Both of this week's dishes are great for this weather and are perfect for everyday eating, and always go down a treat.

At this time of year, it can be hard ensuring our fresh local produce remains that way in our fridges or larders as we are tempted to eat out all the time, on a terrace, with a glass. Roasting tomatoes is a good way of using them up – and this is a super tasty dish, either on its own as a simple, light lunch or as an accompaniment to fish or meat.


(Serves 4)

4 sea bream

4 tablesp olive oil

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 lemons, juiced and zested, sliced

1 small bunch parsley, chopped

150g butter, melted

1 handful of capers

Start by slicing your fish along the bottom – your fishmonger can do this for you if you are buying from the them, as they will have gutted and cleaned the fish already.

Place the fish on a steel tray – a roasting tray is good. Pour over the oil and place half the garlic, lemon and parsley in the fish and around the roasting tray. Keep the other half of everything for the butter. Cover in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.

To cook, season with salt and pepper. You can fry this on the pan inside or place on the barbecue. To cook inside, place on a hot pan with a little oil and cook for four to five minutes on one side, turn over and cook for three minutes on the other side. The fish will continue to cook once removed from the heat so be careful not to have it on the heat for too long.

To barbecue, place on the rack over white coals, not in the centre of the BBQ, and cook for five to seven minutes; turn over, again reducing the time on the second side.

Place the butter in a pan and melt, adding the rest of the capers, parsley and serve over the fish.


8 tblsp olive oil

1kg ripe tomatoes, vine tomatoes work best

4 cloves garlic, crushed

3 bay leaves, torn or chopped

2 sprigs thyme

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

½ hot chilli, finely chopped

Pinch celery salt

Pinch black pepper

Fresh herbs, rosemary & oregano, small handful of each, chopped

Preheat the oven to 160C and grease a large roasting tray with some olive oil. Slice the tomatoes so they lie skin side down on the tray. Place in the baking tray and cover with the garlic, bay leaf, chilli, salt and pepper. Next sprinkle over the balsamic and the olive oil ensuring that all the tomatoes are coated.

Place in the oven and cook for about two hours. The tomatoes will be lightly browned. You can serve this as is or leave to cool slightly. If you do not use all the tomatoes you can use the leftovers as a puree the next day for various sauces. This is a great dish to serve on toasted sourdough too.

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