This looks superb and is dead easy. You can use a dry white Rioja in the cooking if you want to, on the principle of cooking with the wine you are going to drink, or you can be thrifty and use something else. Serve it with new potatoes and seasonal vegetables, perhaps some buttered leeks or braised radicchio. (For this, take a head of radicchio, cut off the base and discard. Cut the radicchio into two or four, according to size. Season with salt, pepper, a few picked thyme leaves, a few drops of balsamic and a drizzle of olive oil. Put in the oven for the last seven to ten minutes of the fish’s cooking time. The outside leaves should be slightly crisp, the inside cooked.)
1 Sea Bass (up to 500g)
Salt and pepper
15g dried Porcini
A couple of sprigs of Thyme
2 tbsp of dry white wine
Get the fishmonger to clean the sea bass, but leave the head and tail on
1. Soak the porcini in hot water for at least half an hour.
2. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
3. Lightly oil a piece of foil big enough to wrap the fish loosely and generously. Season the fish, put it on the foil and lay pieces of mushroom inside the fish and on top, along with the thyme. (Either discard the mushroom soaking liquid or add it to soup or stock.)
4. Wrap the fish in the foil and before you fold the foil over to seal it, sprinkle the wine over the fish.
5. Place it on a baking try and cook for 20 minutes. Make sure to open the foil at the table so both of you get the aroma of the mushrooms as you do so.
Wine-wise, go for a good unoaked or lightly oaked white Rioja. A traditional oaky wine might be too much: you want some weight but freshness as well for this dish.