Taken from Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley (Ebury Press, £27)
The combination of fish and tahini is one we find hard to resist, but this works just as well without the tahini sauce if you're looking for a shortcut or want to keep the focus on the lemon. Either way, this is as close to fast food as you can get. It's a 15-minute meal to make, beginning to end. Possibly even less time to eat.
If you are using the tahini sauce, make the whole quantity of the master recipe below. It keeps in the fridge for about four days and is lovely to have around to drizzle over all sorts of roasted vegetables, meat, fish and salads.
Playing around: Any other meaty white fish works just as well here: sea bass and halibut, for example. Salmon also works well.
- 60ml olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 50g coriander, finely chopped
- 2½tsp fish spice mix (see below)
- ½tsp chilli flakes
- 4 large cod loin (or another sustainably sourced white fish), skin on (about 700g)
- 4 large fresh bay leaves (optional)
- 2 lemons: cut one into 8 very thin slices, and quarter the other lengthways, into wedges, to serve
- About 4tbsp/65g tahini sauce (optional) (see below), to serve
- Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 250°C fan.
Put two tablespoons of oil into a small saucepan and place on a medium-low heat. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 10 seconds, then add the coriander, fish spice mix, chilli flakes, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a grind of black pepper.
Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, for the garlic to really soften, then remove from the heat.
Place the cod in a parchment-lined roasting dish, skin side down, and brush with the remaining two tablespoons of oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper then spoon the coriander mix on top of each fillet. Spread it out so that the whole top is covered, then top each one with a bay leaf, if using, along with two slices of lemon. Roast for 7-8 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
Serve at once, with about a tablespoon of tahini sauce drizzled over, if using, and a wedge of lemon alongside.
Fish spice mix (baharat samak)
Makes just over 2tbsp
- 2tsp ground cardamom
- 2tsp ground cumin
- 1tsp paprika
- 2tsp ground turmeric
This is used throughout the chapter – in dishes such as the fish kofta, roasted cod, spiced fish and baked mackerel – so double or triple the batch, if you like.
It keeps well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month, and much longer in the freezer. It's also great to use as a marinade for all sorts of things: cubes of chicken or tofu, for example, prawns for the barbecue or roasted mixed vegetables.
Place all of the spices in a bowl and mix well to combine. If making more than you need, transfer to a sealed container where it will keep for a month.
Makes 1 medium jar
- 150g tahini
- 2tbs lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
Tahini sauce: the creamy, nutty, rich addition to many a snack, dish or feast. It's there on every table in Palestine, ready to be dipped into or drizzled over all sorts of things: roasted vegetables, fish or meat, and all sorts of leaf, pulse or grain-based salads. It keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days, so always make the full recipe here, even if what you are cooking only calls for a few tablespoons.
Mix together all the ingredients, along with 120ml of water and ¼ teaspoon of salt. If it is too runny, add a bit more tahini. If it is too thick, add a bit more lemon juice or water. You want the consistency to be like that of a smooth, runny nut butter.
It will thicken up when left to sit around, so just give it a stir and some more lemon juice or water every time you use it.
Photography by Jenny Zarins
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