A whole sea bream, gutted and scaled
A few sprigs of thyme
A small head of fennel
A few fillets of anchovy
A little butter
Salt and pepper
- Take a sharp knife and slash the bream a few times on both sides – deep enough to reach bone but no further. Prod a sprig of thyme into each fissure and season lasciviously with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Set aside.
- Put a frying pan over the highest heat you can muster, along with a drop of oil. Finely slice the fennel and chuck it in. Let it sit there for 30 seconds until it starts to burn – there’s enough water in fennel to stop you cremating it but the ferocious heat creates a wonderful flavour.
- Throw in a few anchovy fillets, a pinch of salt, a good grind of pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Toss and stir until the fennel has softened and tip it onto a serving plate, scraping the frying pan good and clean.
- Return the pan to the hob with a splash of oil and drop the temperature a little. Slip in the bream and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. Half way through cooking add a little butter and swish it around to coat the fish.
- Serve with the fennel and a wedge of lemon.