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. It keeps in the fridge for about 4 days and is lovely to have around to drizzle over all sorts of roasted vegetables, meat, fish and salads.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Photography: Jenny Zarins
Season: Spring or Year-Round
60ml olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
50g coriander, finely chopped
2 1⁄2 tsp fish spice mix
1⁄2 tsp 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 4 tbsp/65g tahini sauce (optional), to serve
Salt and black pepper
For the fish spice mix (makes just over 2 tbsp)
2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground turmeric
For the tahini sauce (makes 1 jar)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
Preheat the oven to 250°C fan.
First, make the fish spice mix. 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.
Next make the tahini sauce. Mix together all the ingredients, along with 120ml of water and 1⁄4 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.
Now for the coriander mix. Put 2 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, 1⁄4 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 2 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 2 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.
Falastin is a love letter to a place and its people from Ottolenghi co-founder Sami Tamimi and co-collaborator Tara Wigley. It’s full of recipes and stories from across Bethlehem, East Jerusalem, Nablus, Haifa, Akka, Nazareth, Galilee and the West Bank — an important cookbook that will make you fall in love with the food and stories of Palestine. Recipe extracted from Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley (Ebury Press, £27). Photography by Jenny Zarins.
— cook’s notes
Playing around: Any other meaty white fish works just as well here: sea bass and halibut, for example. Salmon also works well.