Baked Bream: A Hidden Gem of French Cuisine

Cooking the Bream - Credit 123RF

French cuisine, a treasure trove of flavors and traditions, boasts a dish often overlooked yet incredibly delicious: Baked Bream. This freshwater fish, sometimes considered bland and bony, lends itself beautifully to oven cooking.

In this recipe, we’ve enhanced its delicate texture by flambéing it with cognac, a spirit that adds a rich, aromatic note. The choice of red wine in the cooking is not arbitrary; it brings depth of flavor and a unique character to the dish.

Cooking the Bream - Credit 123RF
Cooking the Bream – Credit 123RF

List of Ingredients for Baked Bream

Key Ingredients and Their Benefits

  • Bream: This fish is rich in essential nutrients like omega-3s, beneficial for cardiovascular health.
  • Cognac: Used to flambé the fish, it intensifies the flavors and creates a beautiful caramelization on the surface.
  • Red Wine: Choosing a good red wine is crucial as it significantly influences the aromatic profile of the dish.
  • Shallots and Onions: These aromatics, sweet and slightly sugary when cooked, add an extra dimension of flavor.
  • Mushrooms: Their earthy taste and texture pleasantly contrast with the bream’s sweetness.
  • Parsley: Fresh and vibrant, it adds a touch of color and freshness to the finished dish.

Ingredients for Baked Bream (Serves 4):

  • Bream: 1 piece, approximately 1,2 kg (2,65 lbs).
  • Shallots: 2, finely chopped.
  • Onion: 1, finely chopped.
  • Red Wine: 1/2 bottle, good quality.
  • Butter: 60g (2 oz), divided into two portions.
  • Fresh Mushrooms: 150g (5 oz), sliced.
  • Parsley: 1 bunch, chopped for garnish.
  • Cognac: a small glass, for flambéing.
  • Breadcrumbs: for sprinkling.
  • Salt and Pepper: to taste.

Baked Bream Recipe

Preparation of the Bream

  1. Cleaning: Gut, scale, and trim the fins and tail of the bream. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Infusing Flavors: Make incisions on the sides of the fish to allow the flavors to penetrate better.


  1. Preparing the Aromatics: Preheat your oven to 200°C (390° F). Finely chop the onion, shallots, and mushrooms.
  2. Melting Butter: In a pan, melt 30g (1 oz) of butter and add the onion and shallots. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, then add the mushrooms.
  3. Assembly: Butter an oven-proof dish. Pour the pan mixture into it, then place the bream on top. Season with salt and pepper and flambé with cognac. Pour the red wine over and dot the fish with butter.
  4. Oven Cooking: Cook the bream for 30 minutes, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs and gratinate for an additional 5 minutes.

How to Serve Baked Bream?

Once your baked bream is perfectly cooked and golden, it’s time to think about presentation. Traditionally, this dish is enjoyed with steamed potatoes, providing an ideal balance between the richness of the fish and the simplicity of the vegetables. For a more modern touch, feel free to explore other accompaniments like roasted seasonal vegetables or a fresh salad to add color and texture to your plate.


Baked bream is a dish that combines simplicity with refinement. Its preparation, though straightforward, brings out the subtle flavors of this fish. We hope this article has inspired you to rediscover bream and to share it with your loved ones at your next meal. Bon appétit!

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