Shelley’s recipes

Healthy family favourites from the Purchon household

This unusual recipe comes from Algeria. It takes very little effort to prepare but it looks impressive and tastes delicious. For a healthy meal full of Middle Eastern flavours, read on.

This dish is so easy to make that Leila Hedjem (who shared it) says she’s “almost embarrassed to call it a recipe.” Yet it’s so sophisticated and visually appealing that you could serve it for guests.

I would never have paired fish with fruit, but the pomegranate seeds (and pine nuts) give this dish a lovely texture. Acidic notes go well with fish (that’s why fish is served with lemon, or vinegar if you’re in a chippy). Here it’s the tahini sauce which provides that. The pop of sweetness from the pomegranate and the freshness of the parsley balance the other flavours perfectly.

I was given this cook book, called Together, last Christmas. It was produced by the Hubb Kitchen at Grenfell, to raise money for people affected by the fire. I was very touched to read the foreword (by the Duchess of Sussex) but I didn’t necessarily expect the recipes to be great. How wrong I was.

I don’t have room here to list the many healthy benefits of this recipe. The antioxidants in pomegranate are so powerful that some take it in powered form, as a supplement. There are two types of omega 3 in this dish, from the tahini and the fish. In fact there isn’t a single ingredient in this recipe which doesn’t have someone on the internet, raving about its nutrient profile. If you cook fresh, nutrient dense recipes like this you’re supporting your heart health, bone health and immune function.

Enjoy!

Baked Fish with Tahini and Pomegranate

Serves 4

Preparation and cooking time- 20-30 minutes (depending how quickly your oven heats up.)

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless boneless fillets of cod or other fish, about 150g each
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2-4 tbsp warm water 
  • 10g fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 50g fresh pomegrate seeds
  • 50g pine nuts, dry toasted

Method

Heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Place the fish in a baking dish and drizzle with the oil, season with salt and pepper, then bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish.

To toast the pine nuts, put them in a frying pan without oil on a gentle heat and keep an eye on them. Remove once golden and aromatic and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, mix the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, some salt and pepper. Gradually add the warm water until you reach the consistency of natural yoghurt.

In another bowl, mix the parsley, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. This is your garnish.

When the fish is cooked, plate and pour over the sauce. Sprinkle over the garnish to serve.

I served this with white rice and a side dish of tomato, chard and spinach by Yottam Ottolenghi. I bought his latest book Simple with great excitement, because his recipes are next-level-delicious. Yes it’s delicious, and it’s simple too, but sadly only by his standards. For some easy spinach, try this-

Buy a 500g bag of washed spinach. Heat your biggest pan, with ½ cup water in the bottom. Stuff ALL the spinach in and put the lid on. In 3 to 5 minutes it will have wilted down to edible quantities. Strain out the liquid, and serve it with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.

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