Sarago al Cartoccio – Alias Seabream Baked in Foil

Zanzana was traveling for the Survival Compromise recently. When she travels, she continues to love clean, healthy, genuine food, but she often eats quite some unhealthy food. She has decided to base her Sunday lunch on a light fish menu, to recover after her small sins.

Fresh Bream

Fresh Sarago

On Saturday, she bought fish at her local market. Milan is not on the sea, as you might have understood, but you can anyway find good fish at reasonable prices, even if in most cases caught at least one day before you buy it. Zanzana tries to eat fish twice a week, and to stick to Mediterranean species, avoiding imported ones. The one you can see in the picture is a Sarago – Seabream (hopefully this is the right translation), very common in the Mediteranean and Eastern Atlantic Ocean. You can verify the level of freshness of the fish you buy looking at the eyes, which should appear shiny:

Check the Fish Eyes

Check the Fish Eyes

Moreover, the gills should be light red, the colour appearing natural:

Check the Fish Gills

Check the Fish Gills

The best option is obviously to find a fish vendor you can trust, or to fall back on frozen fish, even if Zanzana does not advise that.

Zanzana likes seabream taste, which is a little more bitter and wild compared to similar fish of the same category, like seabass; she took her inspiration from this recipe, and prepared a nice Sarago al Cartoccio for two persons. We say ‘Al Cartoccio’ when fish is cooked in the oven, inside an aluminium foil, with different spices.


1 Sarago;

10 Cherry Tomatoes;

Parsley, Basil, Oregano, Fennel Leaves;

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (avoid other types of oil);

Half glass of Orange Juice;

Salt, Pepper.

Put one aluminium foil in the pan, lift the edges and mix oil, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, oregano on it. Take the fish, after having cleaned it (or having asked the fish vendor to do it for you, scales must also be removed) and pass it two or three times in the oil and spices mix, then leave it on the foil. Cut tomatoes in half, put them on the foil, add a little salt on them, leave them around the fish and add the orange juuce on the fish. Here is your Cartoccio before you close it:

Sarago al Cartoccio before closing the foil

Sarago al Cartoccio before closing the foil

And here you can see how you should close the Cartoccio:

The Cartoccio closed looks like a Candy

The Cartoccio closed looks like a Candy

Heat up the oven at 200 C for 10 minutes, then cook the fish for 10 minutes at this temperature, for 20 more minutes at 180 C. Turn off the oven and leave the fish inside for 10 more minutes, then this should be the result:

Sarago al Cartoccio is ready

Sarago al Cartoccio is (almost) ready

And this is how it looks when you prepare your portion; as you can see, it remains very juicy:

Nice portion of Sarago al Cartoccio

Nice portion of Sarago al Cartoccio

Zanzana has also prepared two salads to accompany it: a Potato Salad, with boiled potatoes, garlic, parsley, extra-virgin olive oil:

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

and a very nice Season Salad with carrots and green cabbage finely chopped, black olives in brine, lemon juice, salt, extra virgin olive oil. This salad is also prepared by her husband’s family in Albania:

Season Salad with Cabbage

Season Salad with Cabbage

Buon Appetito!


6 thoughts on “Sarago al Cartoccio – Alias Seabream Baked in Foil

    • Thank you Francesca, benvenuta! Yes, it was very easy this time, but it often looks like that to me when I prepare fish. We should not be afraid of the fish! 🙂 The point are the ingredients, and a little of attention in the preparation. I am just sorry that I can not give better advise about how to find them to people living far from the Mediterranean.

  1. Hey there! I’ve been reading your site for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the good job!


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