Newspaper-wrapped bream (or other whole fish)
This is a brilliant way to cook fish in the embers of a fire. Wrapped up in a wet newspaper parcel, the fish steams gently and stays beautifully moist. You won’t get crisp skin, but if you use lots of herbs the flesh will be delightfully aromatic.
Prepare your fire, you’re going to need a bed of hot embers. Lay two sheets of newspaper side by side on your work surface and cover each with another sheet. (Add an extra sheet to each pile if you’re using a tabloid rather than a broadsheet.) Rub the fish with the softened butter and season them well with salt and pepper. Arrange some of the lemon slices in the middle of each pile of newspaper and scatter over some of the bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Place the seasoned fish on top. Bash the garlic cloves and pop them into the fish cavities, then surround the fish with the remaining lemon slices and herbs. Wrap each fish in the newspaper, tucking in the ends so you have nice, sealed, snug-looking parcels. Soak each parcel in fresh water until the paper is wet through. Clear some of the bigger embers from the middle of the fire with a stick and place the wet parcels in the space. Cook for 15–20 minutes, turning them occasionally so they cook evenly, until the paper is charred and starting to catch fire (if it catches fire sooner than this, sprinkle or spray with water). Unwrap the fish carefully, lift
2 black bream, trout or large mackerel, cleaned
A few knobs of butter, softened 1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus wedges for serving
A handful of bay leaves
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River Cottage on Fire
Spend a day with Gill Meller and learn all you need to know to skilfully cook outdoors over fire.