In the words of Greg Malouf: “Although it might at first seem a little strange to bake fish in yoghurt, I guarantee that this wonderful dish from the north of Iran, with its crunchy walnut and herb topping, will surprise and delight you. You’ll need to select a firm white fish that becomes succulent and tender as it cooks – I find rockling ideal.”
You may find this is a great dish for people who don’t like their fish too ‘fishy’ – I have met quite a few – as the yoghurt will balance out the ‘fishy’ fragrance creating a mild yet flavourful dish. If you like a little ‘spice’ in your meals, chop a fresh red chilli to sprinkle over when serving.
Time: 30 minutes
unsalted butter, for greasing
1kg firm white fish fillet, skin removed
freshly ground black pepper
Walnut Herb Crumb
150g fresh breadcrumbs
150g walnuts, coarsely chopped and sieved
1/4 cup shredded flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup shredded tarragon leaves or dill sprigs
90g unsalted butter, melted
250g thick natural yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon cornflour
1 large egg
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons finely snipped chives
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
rice and fresh herbs, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Lightly butter a baking dish just large enough to fit the fish comfortably.
To make the walnut–herb crumbs, combine the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
To make the yoghurt sauce, whisk the yoghurt with the cornflour and egg. Stir in the shallot, chives, lime juice and oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Remove any stray bones from the fish, then cut the fillet into 6 even pieces. Season the fish lightly all over with salt and pepper, and arrange in the baking dish. Pour the yoghurt sauce over the fish. Pack a generous layer of the walnut–herb crumbs on top of each piece of fish. Season lightly again and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the topping is golden and crunchy and the fish is cooked through.
Serve straight away with your choice of rice and fresh herbs.
Recipe taken from Saraban by Greg and Lucy Malouf
Join award-winning authors Greg and Lucy Malouf on an unforgettable journey through the culinary landscape of ancient Persia and modern-day Iran. With an enticing blend of food and travel, Saraban offers a rare glimpse into a fascinating country that remains elusive and enigmatic to the Western world. The Maloufs follow ancient spice trails to meet pistachio farmers, toffee-makers and saffron growers. They eat in exotic markets, tucked-away Dizi restaurants and are invited into the homes of people they meet along the way. They discover a land of generous hospitality, of tea houses, mosques and caravanserais, where the diversity of climate and terrain, a complex history and exquisite art and architecture provide a rich background for one of the world’s oldest and most diverse cuisines.
You can purchase Saraban at cooked.com.
Published by Hardie Grant.