The full-bodied and delicate flesh of the sea bream lends itself to numerous preparations, but, as often happens when preparing to cook a fish, the most crucial problem concerns how to clean it perfectly. To do a good job, you need to eviscerate, scale, remove the bones, filet the seabream, and eliminate (almost) all the thorns. It is a considerable commitment, but with the right tools and little attention, the enterprise can be completed better than expected.
Let’s see together how to clean the sea bream, keep it at home after buying it, and which recipes to make in the kitchen with this delicious fish.
How To Choose Sea Bream At The Fish Counter
The sea bream belongs to the category of “round” fish, i.e Those with an elongated body and eyes on both sides of the head. To recognize it on the fish market counter, we can refer to these characteristics and, above all, to the golden stripe that the sea bream has on its back (hence the name). It is a medium-sized fish (its length varies from 25 to 45 cm) and can weigh up to 10 kg.
To test the freshness of a sea bream, check the brilliance of its scales and the transparency of its eyes; when touched, it must have a turgid consistency, and its smell must be delicate, brackish, and marine. This characteristic is more accentuated in sea bream caught in the open sea, while it may be more subtle in farmed sea bream.
How To Clean And Fillet Sea Bream
To clean the sea bream, we advise you to prepare a work plan, having some valuable tools:
- chopping boards;
- kitchen scissors;
- Plastic bag for food;
- Flexible knife for fileting.
So let’s see how to clean the sea bream, but before starting the procedure, we suggest you wear a pair of latex gloves to prevent your hands from getting too much of the fish smell.
- Start by cutting all the fins with scissors: you can find them on the belly, back, tail, and laterally to the body of the fish;
- With the knife with a flexible blade, cut the belly of the sea bream lengthwise and, using your hands, remove the entrails;
- Thoroughly wash the inside of the fish under running water to remove any residues;
- Then proceed by removing the scales: to avoid spreading them in the environment, but the sea bream in a plastic bag for food, place it on the cutting board, and “scratch” the scales off using the appropriate tool, the scaler (alternatively, you can also use the back of a knife);
- Rinse the fish on the outside to remove residual scale.
The scales should not be done if you plan to cook the fish on the grill: the scales will protect the meat from the heat of the fire, preventing it from burning and allowing it to cook evenly. After having cleaned it, let’s see how a sea bream is filled:
- Cut off the fish’s head and tail;
- Proceeding from the back towards the belly, make two incisions on the body of the sea bream using a knife with a sharp and flexible blade;
- Keeping as close to the central bone as possible, cut a filet from the fish on each side.
Once the filets are made, the detailed work begins with the elimination of the small bones, given that, like all fish, even the sea bream (alas) has thorns. This operation is essential to make the sea bream edible in complete safety. It must be carried out with patience and precision, using tweezers and not removing even the flesh from the fish.
It is known that fish should be cooked and enjoyed as fresh as possible. Still, suppose you want to wait to prepare the sea bream after purchasing it. In that case, you can keep it in the refrigerator (for no more than a day), hermetically sealed inside a container equipped with a cover that prevents the dispersion of its smell inside the fridge.
If you want to freeze the sea bream, you prefer to do it after filling it so that it is ready when the time comes to cook it. For optimal home freezing, arrange the sea bream filets on a tray covered with parchment paper, and when they have reached the freezing point (it will take about an hour), you can place them inside a “frost bag” and keep them in the freezer even up to 5/6 months.
How To Cook Sea Bream And Scraps
The correct cooking of the sea bream is essential for taste and removing the bones more easily. When the fish has been cooked optimally, its meat detaches easily from the central bone.
This circumstance is easily verifiable when it comes to cleaning a cooked sea bream, such as the one made in foil: in one of the most classic preparations reserved for fish, cooking takes place at a very high temperature (180/200 °C), and the result is almost always perfect already after about 20 minutes thanks to the action of the foil, which keeps the heat constant inside and enhances the natural aromas of the sea bream.
Another suitable cooking for sea bream is the one in a salt crust: light and dietary, although delicious, it is made using simple condiments, such as EVO oil, lemon slices, the ever-present clove of garlic, and all your favorite herbs. But the sea bream can also be stewed, Mediterranean-style, with black olives, cherry tomatoes, capers, and a sprig of thyme or baked with slices of potatoes and fragrant rosemary.
Also Read: What Is The Cardiovascular System?