Baked gilt head bream (dorada al horno in Spanish) is one of my favorite Spanish fish recipes. Fresh gilt head bream (you can substitute sea bream, sea bass, or any other whole hearty fish) is simply prepared with lemon, herbs, white wine, and olive oil and baked in the oven.
Dorada (or Gilt Head Bream in English) is a very common fish here in Spain. It was the first fish that I enjoyed whole (in the US I grew up eating fish that had already been filetted). I fell in love with its delicious flavor and simple preparation.
My in-laws in Cadiz prepare their gilt-head bream on the grill, covered in sea salt. Then, they serve it whole (one dorada per person!) with a heaping side of picadillo, a fresh salad (or what I might call a salsa) made of red pepper, onion, and tomato.
Since we don't have a grill here in Madrid, here is my own baked dorada recipe. I adapted the baked gilt head bream recipe from Javi Recetas, one of my favorite Spanish food blogs written by a Gaditano (a person from Cadiz). It is shockingly simple, and the only tricky part is eating it-- make sure you don't swallow any bones!
I love the simplicity of this baked fish with my mother-in-law's picadillo salad. But baked dorada also goes well with potatoes (doesn't everything?!). I especially love it with patatas a lo pobre.
More Spanish Fish Recipes
If you love this dorada recipe, try some of these other delicious Spanish fish recipes!
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Baked Gilt Head Bream Recipe
- 2 whole gilt head bream (doradas) ask your fishmonger to clean them and prepare them for baking. The fish I buy are usually about 600g (1.3 lbs) each, but the size varies. If they are very large they might need more time in the oven.
- 1 lemon
- 1 fish stock cube
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup olive oil
- fresh parsley You can use other herbs if you'd like, such as thyme, oregano, or fennel seed.
- 3 tomatoes finely diced, remove the seeds and any extra liquid (firm salad tomatoes are ideal)
- 1 red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 2 tablespoon Sherry vinegar (you can substitute red wine vinegar)
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (more to taste)
- sea salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- Set the oven to bake at 285°F (140°C)
- In a small bowl, mix the wine, olive oil, juice from half the lemon, a pinch of salt, pepper, a bouillon cube, and the dried herbs (if using).
- Make three large cuts diagonally across each fish. Place the fish on a baking sheet and cover them with the marinade. Cut the other half of the lemon into six round slices and place one slice in each crevice.
- Put the fish in the oven on the middle rack for 40-45 minutes. Check about halfway through and if it looks dry add a little water to the pan.
- Once fully baked, let the fish rest a few minutes before eating. Be careful of bones when you eat the fish.
- Remove the seeds and pulp from the tomato and finely dice.
- Deseed the red pepper and do the same, and cut the onion in a small dice too.
- Season the salad with salt and pepper and dress with vinegar and olive oil. Enjoy!
That's it! This gilt head bream recipe has served me well over the years, it's super quick to get in the oven and makes a fast and delicious meal.
What's your favorite Spanish fish recipe?