The gilthead sea bream (Latin: Sparus aurata) has always been a highly-prized edible marine fish. Even the goddess Aphrodite considered the gilthead sea bream to be sacred – but it is unclear whether that was on account of its beauty or the fact that it changes gender as it matures.
It owes the name gilthead to the golden-yellow horizontal stripe on the fish's forehead and the golden spot on each cheek. The gilthead sea bream has the tall, flattened body typical of sea bream. Its diet consists mainly of mussels and crustaceans. However, even tougher prey are no problem for the gilthead sea bream, as its several rows of molars and incisors are very powerful.
This species of sea bream is biologically unique because there are no all-male or all-female animals. The gilthead sea bream is born a hermaphrodite. While young, all animals are male but as they increase in size, they develop female sexual organs.
Gilthead sea bream is best suited to vigorous cooking methods such as grilling and frying. It is perfect for cooking as a whole fish. When cooking whole, the fish can be stuffed with fresh Mediterranean herbs of your choice and a few slices of lemon, then cooked on the grill or in the oven.
Fillets of gilthead sea bream taste best when fried with the descaled skin side down until crispy.
Flavour and texture
The gilthead sea bream has firm, white flesh with a pleasant, tangy flavour. It has fewer bones than other varieties of sea bream.
It is very popular among gourmets and in haute cuisine.
Breeding or pots and traps
Fishing with traps and pots is one of the oldest fishing methods. Our Stone Age ancestors used this method, which involves attaching the baited cages to lines and submerging them in the water. Unlike trawling, for example, it is one of the more passive fishing methods and also one of the best methods for preserving fish stocks.
Pots often resemble cages or baskets with one more openings (funnels) and are placed on the ocean floor, with or without bait.
Once the fish has swum into the pot, it cannot escape due to the funnel-shaped entrance. However, if the animal has not yet reached the desired catch size, it can get out through the escape hatches. This enables selective fishing.