Potatoes and olives are the perfect side dishes to a whole roasted sea bass.
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus 2 parsley sprigs
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
20 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup Gaeta olives (5 ounces)
One 6-pound whole black sea bass or red snapper, cleaned and scaled
2 thyme sprigs
1 cup dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large roasting pan, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the chopped parsley and the rosemary; season with salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes in an even layer. Scatter the tomatoes and olives over the potatoes and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Season the cavity of the fish with salt and pepper and stuff the parsley and thyme sprigs into it. Lay the fish on the potatoes and pour the wine over it. Rub the surface of the fish with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover the roasting pan with foil and bake the fish for 50 minutes, or until almost cooked through. Discard the foil and baste the fish with the pan juices. Bake the fish for about 20 minutes longer, or until it is cooked through and the potatoes are tender.
To serve, transfer the fish to a work surface. Transfer the potatoes, tomatoes and olives to a platter. Fillet the fish and set the fillets on top of the potatoes. Pour the pan juices over the fish and serve.
A full-bodied white with some cleansing acidity will complement the herb-and-tomato-accented fish. Look for a no-oak blend from Friuli that has both richness and acidity.