Marinated Sweet & Sour Fish

Marinated Fish 015aThis is another dish that makes great use of the lovely seasonal
capsicums currently available.

This is my adaption of a recipe that appears in Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press 2012. This beautifully
presented book starts its introduction with the following:

“One of our favourite recipes in this collection, a simple couscous with tomato and onion, is based on a dish Sami’s mum, Na’ama, used to cook for him when he was a child in Muslim east Jerusalem. At around the same time, in the Jewish west of the city, Yotam’s dad, Michael, used to make a very similar dish…”

One of the things I love about this book are stories interwoven into the text which show while the people of a country/city might think they are very different because of their believes, customs or culture when it comes to their cuisine it can be remarkably similar. This book explores the author’s culinary heritage and through them we experience the flavours of their childhood.

Jerusalem is a collection of 120 recipes which showcases the vibrant cuisine of this city, with its diverse Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities – the recipes range from inventive vegetable dishes to sweet, rich desserts. The words on the back cover sum it up:

“The flavours and smells of this city are our mother tongue: wild herbs picked on school trips, days in markets, the smell of the dry soil on a
summer’s day, goats and sheep roaming the hills, fresh pitas, chopped parsley, chopped liver, black figs, syrupy cakes, crumbly cookies.”

Jerusalem 002a

Marinated Sweet & Sour Fish
If your pan is large enough it is worth making extra of this as it is great eaten as leftovers or as another meal in a couple of days time.

Serves 4

¼ cup olive oil
4 medium onions (about 150g each), cut into 1cm slices
1 tbsp coriander seeds
4 medium (about 200g each) red or a mixt of red and yellow capsicums, cut into 1cm strips
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp curry powder
3 medium (about 100g each) tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g thickish firm white fish fillets, cut into four equal sized pieces – on this occasion I used blue moki, but at other times have used kingfish, hoki and snapper – chose what looks good on the day and fillets which are thicker rather than thinner

1              Preheat oven to 180°C.
2              Place half the olive oil, the onions and coriander seeds in an ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until onions just start to soften.
3              Add capsicums, garlic, bay leaves, curry powder and
tomatoes, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes
longer. Add sugar and vinegar and cook for 5 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4              Meanwhile in separate frying pan heat remaining oil. Season fish on both sides with salt, then add to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes each side to brown.
5              Transfer fish to the pan with the vegetables, push the fish into the vegetable mixture and add 1 cup water – the fish should be immersed in the vegetables. Cover.
6              Place pan in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes or until fish is cooked when tested with skewer. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe adapted by Rachel Blackmore

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