Grilled Whole Sea Bass with Fennel

Using a grilling basket is a wonderful way to cook fish on a barbecue, preserving its shape and allowing you to move it without fear of the flesh coming away. Here the aniseed flavour of fennel pairs terrifically with the fish, which needs little else other than a simple marinade to keep the flesh moist throughout cooking and help bring out the sweet and delicate flavour.

  • Prep Time1 hr
  • Cook Time15 min
  • Total Time1 hr 15 min
  • Serving Size6
  • Course
    • Main
  • Cooking Method


  • 2 whole sea bass
  • 200ml olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Stalks and chopped leaves of 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 lemon



Prepare a marinade by mixing the olive oil with generous amounts of salt and pepper and the fennel leaves.


Rinse the fish inside and out under the cold tap then pat dry. Take a very sharp knife and make four diagonal cuts on each side of the fish, almost to the bone, to ensure they cook evenly.


Place the fish on a tray and fill the cavities with fennel stalks. Now rub them all over with the marinade, pressing it into the cuts as well, cover with tinfoil or clingfilm and leave for 1 hour.


Brush the inside of the grilling baskets with oil then place the fish inside – the snugger the fit, the better – and close the lid. Reserve the marinade from the tray.


Place the sea bass on the grill around 10-15cm from the hot coals or gas and cook for 3-4 minutes before turning the fish over and basting with the marinade. Repeat this step until the fish is cooked – to check, pierce the flesh just behind the gills. If it is opaque and just coming away from the bone then it is done.


Remove the grilling basket from the heat, place the sea bass on a serving dish and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving with lemon wedges.

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