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Baked fish with pistachio and tahini (samke harra) recipe

Baked fish with pistachio and tahini

This much loved Lebanese fish dish is spectacular presented on a large platter as part of a buffet. Most often reserved for special occasions, head to the fish market to buy the freshest whole snapper for this recipe.

By Zahi Azzi


1 x 2 kg whole snapper, scaled and cleaned
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup olive oil, plus extra for oiling the baking tray
1 onion, finely diced
tomatoes, seeded and finely diced, to taste
red capsicum, finely diced, to taste
1 cup fresh pistachios, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 cup lemon juice
1 tsp harissa
1 cup tahini
water, as required
¼ bunch parsley, finely chopped
¼ bunch coriander, finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat oven to 200ºC. Season snapper well with sea salt and ground black pepper.

Roast in an oiled baking tray for 1 hour or until almost cooked.

Meanwhile in a saucepan combine oil, onion, tomatoes, capsicum and cook over low heat, strring occasionally, until soft.

Add pistachios, lemon juice, harissa, tahini and enough water to make a thin sauce consistency, and cook slowly until oil starts to separate from the sauce. Spoon over snapper and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Combine chopped herbs and extra vigin olive oil. Serve fish sprinkled with the extra pistachios and with the herb oil.

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