There is a wide range of Sea Breams out there, some do find their way up the Gulf Stream to the south coast, but the majority are fished in the Mediterranean and in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Varieties include Black, Black Banded, Red, Pink, White, Yellowfin, Theadfin, Gilthead and Ray’s Bream, along with Pagre, Porgy and Dentex, but do not confuse with freshwater Breams.
Sizes range from300g to 1kg, though they tend to average at around 450g making Sea Bream a great fish for serving whole. The larger 800g+ fish provide some good size fillets. Can be grilled, baked, steamed, poached or pan-fried. At it’s best with lighter, subtler flavours, and with any Mediterranean flavours. Sea Bream are also farmed in the Mediterranean.
The most popular and highly regarded of the Sea Breams is the Gilthead Bream (also known as Royal Bream). According to Greek mythology, Gilthead Bream was considered sacred to Aphrodite – the goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture! A superb looking fish with bright silvery skin with hints of pink and gold, Gilt Heads are successfully farmed in the Mediterranean, giving year-round availability in consistent sizes from 300g to 1kg. The larger fish can be filleted, and its shape is also ideal for butterfly fillets, which are great for filling with a pesto. Using dill or fennel will enhance the flavour. With its pinkish opaque flesh, the popularity of Gilthead Bream continues to grow as a slightly sweeter tasting alternative to Sea Bass, and can be cooked the same way as Bass and other Breams.