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Baked Sea Bass with Vegetables in Olive Oil and Lemon Sauce; Sebzeli Levrek Pilaki

I had the pleasure  of meeting  Mr Sureyya Uzmez, the food writer and owner of Ankara’s Trilye Fish Restaurant; undoubtedly one of the best fish restaurants in Turkey. I greatly admired Sureyya Bey’s (Mr Sureyya’s) passion for seafood and efforts to source the freshest possible fish and shellfish at home, and preparing them in a way to bring the best out of them. This is also the essence of Turkish cooking; we aim to bring out the freshness, the actual flavor of the produce, rather than hiding it behind sauces.  I very much look forward to the Trilye experience in Ankara, and I hope you can too.

Trilye Restaurant’s Mr Sureyya Uzmez and myself at Covent Garden, London, before our interview

My dear cousin, Ahmet Sabuncu is an accomplished photographer (please check out Ahmet’s award winning pinhole photography) and a TV producer for TRT (Turkish Radio and Television). Teaming up with Mr Uzmez and the wonderful Sofra Restaurant’s ambassador of Turkish food, Mr Huseyin Ozer, they have been shooting a TV program in London about how Turkish and British cuisines have been shaped throughout the history, the ethnic influences that has contributed to Turkish and other food cultures. They kindly included an interview with me for the program, which is planned to go on air in Turkey – very exciting! It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience – my sincere thanks to them.  I will keep you posted on the air time of the program 🙂

Southeast coast of Turkey, bountiful with fish, just as at the Agean and Black Sea

Regarded as a symbol of fertility, fish is very much enjoyed at home, especially at the coastal regions. Turkey is bounded by the sea on three sides – the Mediterranean, Aegean and the Black Sea. With the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and Dardanelles at northwest, Turkey has over 7,000km (4,350 miles) of coastline. The plentiful fishing waters provide daily catches of bluefish, red and grey mullet, swordfish, sea bass, tuna, bonito, turbot, plaice, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and many more. In most of the coastal regions, fish is bought very fresh, straight off the boats at the daily fish market, still swimming around in the buckets or beautifully arranged on ice.

One of the many fisherman by the Bosphorus, Istanbul, getting ready for his daily catch

Inspired by Sureyya Bey’s passion for seafood, I adapted one of the recipes at Trilye’s wonderful book “Trilye’s Passion for Sea Food” (Trilye’nin Balik Sevdasi). This delicious baked sea bass makes a complete meal with all the fresh vegetables in it, and so easy to make. I poached the sea bass and the vegetables in olive oil, lemon juice and a little water, just as the same way we cook ‘Vegetables cooked in olive oil’, Zeytinyaglis. This delicious and healthy way of cooking retains all the wonderful juices of the fish and vegetables. The result has been a refreshing, utterly delicious supper that disappeared very quickly.


This wonderful recipe and over 90 authentic, delicious Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book are delivered worldwide, including US and Canada at this link – You can also see also kindle, ebook etc options here

Baked Sea bass with vegetables in olive oil

Baked Sea bass with vegetables in olive oil

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes                               Cooking time:  about 35-40 minutes*

4 fillets of sea bass – or any fresh white fish-

1 onion, cut in half and sliced thinly

4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped coarsely

1 small green (bell or pointy) pepper, quartered and sliced thinly

1 small yellow (bell or pointy) pepper, quartered and sliced thinly

3 medium tomatoes, coarsely sliced

2-3 medium potatoes, cut in half and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

2 bay leaves

8fl oz/1 cup water (or fish stock)

45ml/3 tbsp olive oil

5ml/1 tsp red pepper flakes – optional

Salt and ground pepper to taste

Handful of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped – to decorate

Lemon wedges to serve

* Please check the recommended cooking time for the fish of your choice on the packaging.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F

Stir in all the prepared vegetables and the bay leaves in a baking dish. Coat them with the olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if used).

Coat the vegetables with olive oil, seasoning and red pepper flakes; they complement the fish beautifully

Coat the fish fillets with 1 tbsp of olive oil and place them amongst the vegetables. Mix the lemon juice with water or fish stock and spoon this liquid all around the fish and vegetables. Cover the baking dish with foil and put it in the oven for about 35 minutes or until the fish and vegetables are cooked. Once cooked, take the foil out and sprinkle chopped parsley over the fish. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon by the side.

Sea bass baked with vegetables in olive oil; a delicious all in one dish.

Sea bass baked with vegetables in olive oil; a delicious all in one dish.

For a light and delicious finish, you may serve the Baked Apricots with Walnuts as a dessert.

Afiyet Olsun (May you be healthy and happy with the food you eat);


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16 Responses to Baked Sea Bass with Vegetables in Olive Oil and Lemon Sauce; Sebzeli Levrek Pilaki

  1. Ashley July 1, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Looks delicious. Will be giving this a try.

    • Ozlem July 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

      Thanks Ashley, look forward to hearing how you enjoy it:)

  2. Alida July 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    What a beautiful looking gorgeous food. You create amazing dishes. Great post!

    • Ozlem July 2, 2012 at 8:39 am #

      Ciao Alida,
      Many thanks, likewise, I greatly enjoy reading and trying your recipes, I can have Mediterranean food everyday!

  3. BacktoBodrum July 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    I’m really pleased to hear that Turkish cuisine is getting some TV time. looking forward to watching.

    • Ozlem July 2, 2012 at 8:39 am #

      I was over the moon too. They will be shooting more episodes in other parts of the world, so it will be a while before the program goes on air – I will kepp you posted : )

  4. Peri July 2, 2012 at 5:12 am #

    Ozlem, so glad to hear about the interview…this fish recipe looks fresh and delicious, the vegetables are bright and healthy…all so colorful and yummy:) we share another commonality there, Mumbai, my native city on the west coast of India, has brilliant fresh seafood…people go the pier market early in the day to buy fresh catch:) I dearly miss that fresh fish taste:)

    Always a pleasure to see pictures of the Bosphorus, very calming…

    • Ozlem July 2, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      Thank you Peri, Mumbai is big time on my list of places to go, I am dreaming about strolling thru the coast together and taking all the colors and smells in – a dream to work on!. Many thanks for your kind words.

  5. subhie July 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    looks delcious n colorful ..will give a try….love ur pics especially the sea!!

    • Ozlem July 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      Thank you Subhie, love a bit of a color -sunshine on a plate 🙂 glad you enjoyed it.

  6. heni July 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    hello thank you for viewing and commenting on my blog. Wow very beautiful pictures and food here! I know I will be stopping by often cheers!

    • Ozlem July 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      Thank you Heni, our cuisines have much in common, delighted to find your blog 🙂

  7. Susan July 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Just beautiful! We are blessed with fresh fish in Southern California, too – this looks like a great way to prepare it!

    • Ozlem July 3, 2012 at 9:12 am #

      Thanks Susan, enjoy the wonderful fish in CA! When the fish is that good, you don’t need to do much to them, just to bring out their natural, wonderful flavor.

  8. Phil in the Kitchen July 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    This looks delicious – very pure tastes, I’m sure. I’m impressed about the TV interview. In case there are any TV executives reading this, I’d just like to say that I’d definitely watch a Turkish Table TV series. (Well, you never know).

    • Ozlem July 3, 2012 at 9:10 am #

      That’s so kind of you Phil. Any opportunity to reach out and talk about Turkish cuisine, I hope they read this too !:) Many thanks for your support.

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