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Reply to: Lemon-baked Yellowtail

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Replying to: Lemon-baked Yellowtail

Taken from Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards by Olive Hamilton Russell. 

Yellowtail are fast, predatory gamefish that live in the cold Atlantic waters off the Cape coast. During the annual sardine run, they migrate towards the east coast to feast on the sardines. The flesh is firm and full flavoured, but it can easily become dry if even slightly overcooked. I like to serve this with artichokes dressed with hollandaise sauce and individual cauliflower soufflés.


  • 2kg fresh whole yellowtail, headand tail intact
  • 60ml (1⁄4 cup) Hamilton Russell Vineyards Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 60ml (1⁄4 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 3ml (½t) flaked salt
  • 2ml (¼t) freshly ground blackpepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 30ml (2T) chopped fennel (bulbs and fronds)
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
  • fresh fennel or other fresh herbs for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Rub the inside of the fish with 30ml (2T) olive oil.
  3. Drizzle the lemon juice over the flesh and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the rosemary, fennel and lemon slices inside the fish.
  5. Place the fish on a lightly greased baking tray and rub the skin with the rest of the olive oil.
  6. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until cooked.
  7. Garnish with fresh fennel or other fresh herbs.


  • Instead of fresh yellowtail (Seriola spp., also known as amberjack), you can use any similar firm-fleshed fish, such as Cape salmon (geelbek), kabeljou (kob) or swordfish.
  • My fail-safe method to test whether fish is cooked is to insert a sharp knife into the thickest part of the flesh for 5 seconds. If the knife comes out hot to the touch, the fish is cooked.
  • A whole fish is always tasty when cooked on an open fire.


This full-textured fish with its bold vegetable accompaniments requires a medium-bodied, juicy, crisp red wine (chilled to 10–12ºC) to tame the artichokes and provide a natural, sour-cherry acidity that will cut through the richness of the cauliflower soufflé and the hollandaise sauce.

  • Klein River Sangiovese, Western Cape.
  • Morellino di Scansano, from Tuscany, Italy.
  • Chinon or Saumur Champigny from Loire Valley, France.

Click here for more information about Entertaining at Russell Hamilton Vineyards

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