By Dima Sharif: ‘When it comes to fish, I always prefer a minimalistic approach. Really, olive oil, salt and black pepper is all you need to produce outstanding fish dishes. However, this very popular version of stuffed fish is great because the herbs are fantastic, and it just looks great and green too. So for the days when you are feeling a bit fancier than olive oil and seasoning, this one will serve you well.’
Do read our review of Dima’s cookbook Plated Heirloom.
Samakeh Mahshyeh ∼ Oven-grilled Stuffed Whole Fish
- 1 medium size whole fish, red snapper or any white meat fish works (gutted and cleaned)
- 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped (optional for spicy)
- 1 green capsicum, finely sliced
- 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
- 1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp shatta (prepared Arabic-style red pepper flakes sauce)
- 3 lemons, juiced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- a pinch of ground all spice
- a pinch of ground cardamom
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt and black pepper
- Brush a baking tray with seasoned olive oil.
- Rinse the fish with cold water to clean and pat dry. Score the fish diagonally, head to tail on both sides. Rub the fish on both sides with a lemon wedge, then season with salt, black pepper and spices. Place the fish on the prepared baking tray.
- In a large bowl, mix well together the chopped herbs, sliced onion, garlic, capsicum, chopped chilli and shatta, then season with salt and black pepper, and the same spices you seasoned the fish with, along with olive oil. Fill the cavity of the fish and the creases with this mixture, and place the remaining filling around the fish in the baking tray. Sprinkle the remaining lemon juice all over, add 1 ½ cups fish broth or water and drizzle all lightly with olive oil. Cover and bake in 190ºC oven for 20-30 minutes depending the size of the fish.
- Remove the foil, and continue to cook for 10 more minutes or until the flesh flakes easily. Broil to brown if necessary. Serve hot with pita bread and baqdoonsyeh (tahini sauce mixed with 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley) or plain tahini sauce.
[Dima Sharif, the author of Plated Heirlooms, has shared this recipe and image with FoodeMag website.]