Baked Sea Bass with Lemon, Olives and Rosemary


Last week we were invited to some friends for our first barbecue of the year and asked to bring some fish for the grill. Not wanting to take over our friends’ kitchen I needed something I could prep at home, parcel up and just whack straight on the coals when we got there – foil baked sea bass with lemon, olives and rosemary it was then. The results were delicious – here’s how you do it …

Take a cleaned, whole sea bass and score each flank three times with a sharp knife. Gently rub some salt and pepper into the cuts on the flanks and into the cavity. Add a few slices of lemon, four or five black olives and some sprigs of fresh rosemary into the cavity also.

Lay out three sheets of baking foil (about three times the length of the fish), one on top of the other. Smear the middle of the top sheet with olive oil and lay your seasoned and stuffed fish on the foil. Move it around a bit to ensure that the bottom flank is duly oiled up, then flip the fish and do the same on the other side. The oiling helps prevent the foil from sticking to the fish when cooking. To also help the fish from sticking and from drying out when cooking, I like to drizzle a few teaspoons of lemon juice over the fish at this stage as well.

That’s the prep done, now you need to carefully parcel the fish up. I emphasise that the parcelling needs to be done carefully as you need to be able to open the foil from time to time during the cooking to check on the fish and this is impossible to do if the foil is just scrunched up around the fish. The way I do it is, starting with the top layer of foil, fold the top edge towards yourself over the fish, then the bottom edge away from yourself, then fold over the right and left edges in turn, before repeating for the two layers beneath. This way it is nice and easy to fold back the layers to take a quick peak at the fish when it’s cooking.

The parcels can be laid directly on the coals, but be careful to let the intensity of the heat die off a bit if going this route. The better way, in my experience, is to lay the fish on a grill a couple of inches above an even bed of coals.

A nice even bed of coals
With the foil parcels on the grill you’ve got 30 mins to enjoy a drink of something …

Typically a regular supermarket sized bass of around a pound in weight would take about 30 minutes on the barbecue (about 20 minutes if cooking in the oven at 180 degrees), but the best way to know when it’s done is to open up the parcel and look at the eye of the fish. If it’s gone completely white, that’s about done. Turn the parcels occasionally to ensure an even bake.

When ready, carefully peel off the foil layers and serve … enjoy!

When the eye turns white, you’re ready to go!


  • whole sea bass, cleaned
  • lemon (sliced)
  • fresh rosemary
  • black olives
  • olive oil 
  • lemon juice
  • salt 
  • pepper


  • Sauvignon Blanc



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