Roasted Gilthead bream, my great-grandma Paca´s recipe

This week I bring you an easy and very familiar recipe. I have roasted this beautiful fish in the style of my great-grandmother Paca. A delicious dish perfect to put on the table and share as a main course with friends and family.

Ever since I was a little boy, I have heard my mother talk about Grandgrandma Paca. A woman who loved cooking and who, after the death of her husband, the tailor Don Cesario Rodriguez, my great-grandfather, decided to turn her tailor's shop into a motel house for students.

Great-grandma Paca

The tasty aromas coming from the oven of grandmother Paca in the inn house in the centre of Valladolid was something that did not go unnoticed among the students who stayed there. So much so that they often asked her to cook this special roast with gilthead bream for special occasions.

Today, it is an honour to share this delicious recipe with all of you. I hope you will like it. But before I start cooking this delicious recipe, let me tell you a bit about the main ingredient of this roast.

Gilthead bream

Gilthead bream is a highly prized fish in the Iberian Peninsula, where it is one of the main staples of the Spanish diet. Its consumption dates back to prehistoric times, as remains of fish bones have been found in different archaeological sites. Due to the many kilometres of coastline in the east and south of Spain, it is likely that gilthead bream, along with other fish characteristics of areas close to the coast, was one of the most commonly caught fish.

Click and discover its properties

During the Roman occupation, the gilthead bream was used in countless dishes and sauces. Still, the Muslims, from the 8th century AD onwards, introduced the high esteem in which this food is held today, as well as complex recipes with it as one of the main ingredients.

The recipe

  • Cooking time 35
  • Prep time 15 min
  • Total 50 min


  1. 1,1 kg / 35 oz / 2,4 lb Gilthead bream
  2. 1/2 Kg / 18 oz / 1 lb sliced potatoes
  3. 120 g / 4 oz / 1/4 lb two small onions
  4. 1/2 lemon
  5. Two bay leaves
  6. Salt and white pepper
  7. Some parsley leaves for garnish
  8. 1/2 cup / 120 ml EVOO ( Extra virgin olive oil)

For the "Majado"

  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • A handful of fresh parsley
  • 2 tbs / 25 ml EVOO
  • 1/4 cup / 50 ml water
  • 1/4 cup / 50 ml Sherry vinegar
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Pour a cup of oil into a frying pan and place over medium heat. When hot, add the peeled and sliced potatoes. Fry them for a couple of minutes on each side.
  2. Remove them on kitchen paper to absorb the extra oil and keep them for later use.
  3. Add the julienned onion and fry in the same oil for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on kitchen paper for later use.

  1. For this recipe, I asked my fishmonger to prepare the gilthead bream for roasting whole, so He only cut off the fins, removed the gills, guts and scales, and finally washed it well with water.
  2. Take the gilthead bream and salt and pepper it on both sides. Then make two transversal cuts on the side that you will put upwards in the roast and introduce the half slices of lemon.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the potatoes on the base of the tray and then the onion, which will be the bed for the gilthead bream. Put salt and pepper on the potatoes and place the fish on the bed.
  4. Add the bay leaves, a little olive oil and a couple of slices of lemon.

  1. Put the gilthead bream in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, we are going to make the "Majado". You can do it with a pestle and mortar or a food processor, but in this case, I prefer to chop it with a knife.
  3. Mix the garlic and finely chopped parsley in a bowl, together with the vinegar and water. Add a little salt and mix well. This mixture will make a delicious sauce.
  4. Once the 25 minutes have elapsed, take the gilthead bream out of the oven. It is time to add the "Majado" to the fish and potatoes. You can save a little to put at the end if you are a fan of garlic like me.

  1. Put the gilthead bream back in the oven and cook for 5 more minutes at 190 degrees. Finally, take the fish out of the oven, and it is ready to eat.

This dish is nice to present the whole roast at the table and then serve it plate by plate. I put the baking paper on the base to be able to change it easily to this beautiful dish.

I hope you enjoyed this delicious roast. Thank you, Grandma Paca, wherever you are, for passing on this delicious recipe and teaching your daughter and granddaughter to cook well. May you know that today your recipe has become universal.

Have a tasty day!

10 Ratings | Rating: 4.9 out of 5
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