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Boozy Food with Spirits: Fish en Papillote with Vermouth

An effortless way to cook whole fish, either one per person or sharing. Just put the fish in a foil parcel with herbs and liquor and put it in the oven. Lots of fish are suitable, including bream, large salmon and small trout, but my favourite is sea bass, so that’s what’s here. (You can also adapt this recipe to pork chops, but cook them more slowly for longer.)

Serves 2

Olive oil

1 shallot, very finely sliced

1 x 500g sea bass, cleaned and gutted

2 sprigs dill or tarragon

Salt and pepper

4 tbsp dry white French vermouth or 3 tbsp pastis

Pre-heat the oven to 220C/fan oven 200C/Gas mark 6.

Cut a piece of foil large enough to wrap the fish loosely. Brush all but the edges with olive oil. Place the shallot down the middle and the sea bass on top. Tuck the herbs in the fish and season it. Sprinkle the vermouth/pastis in and over it. Bring the sides of the foil up, fold over tightly twice, then do the same with the ends.

Place in a roasting tin or tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with buttered boiled/steamed potatoes and something simple and green.

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