Grilled Whole Fish in Chile, Garlic, and Mint Sauce
Makes 2 servings
In Jaffa, the picturesque old city next to Tel Aviv, Margaret Tayar has a famous seafood restaurant specializing in Moroccan cuisine prepared in her distinctive way. Her food—highly spiced and fragrant—is delicious. She is known for her fish couscous and for her simple and delicious spicy grilled fish. This recipe is my adaptation of Margaret's fresh and zesty salsa that dresses the charcoal-grilled bream. Serve with steamed potatoes, zuchini, and carrots.
• 2 to 4 fresh green chiles, minced, to taste
• 1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced, to taste
• 1 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled, or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
• 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
• 4 to 5 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 whole sea bream, porgy, or gray mullet (about 1½ pounds) or any other head-on fish, suitable for grilling, cleaned
• 1/2 cup finely diced, peeled, and seeded ripe fresh tomato, drained
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Mix together the chiles, garlic, mint, lemon juice, and olive oil in a bowl. Add a little salt and mix thoroughly, then taste and adjust the seasonings. The sauce should be hot. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Light a charcoal grill or preheat the broiler. Salt the fish inside and out and place on a well-oiled grill about 5 inches from the heat. Broil or grill, turning once, until firm and almost done, about 15 minutes total. Remove from the heat and cover with aluminum foil. Let stand for 5 minutes. Mix the sauce with the chopped tomato. Serve the fish with the sauce on one side or cut the fish open, remove the central bone, and transfer the fillets to a heatproof platter. Pour half the sauce over the fish, sprinkle with some pepper, and place under a very hot broiler for a few seconds before serving, sprinkled with parsley. Pass the rest of the sauce separately.
Revue de presse
"Aglaia has a deep knowledge of Mediterranean foods. Her wonderful choice of recipes and her taste for the hot and spicy make this engaging book a joy to cook and eat from."
--Claudia Roden, author of The New Book of Middle Eastern Food
"Aglaia's book is full of so many of my favorite Mediterranean recipes that I couldn't wait to try her innovative take on these earthy foods in my own kitchen."
--Joan Nathan, author of Jewish Cooking in America
“Aglaia Kremezi (admittedly one of my favorite cooks) has opened the door to a whole world of traditional hot and spicy foods and flavors that deepen our experience (and pleasure) of Mediterranean foods.”
--Deborah Madison, author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
and Local Flavors
"Not since Odysseus has a Greek made such a meaningful and productive journey of the Mediterranean as has Aglaia Kremezi for this book. Already the reigning goddess of the Greek kitchen, she has taken her powers of taste and discovery to nearby shores, finding recipes to treasure in a region that had seemingly revealed all of its secrets.”
--Fred Plotkin, author of Italy for the Gourmet Traveler
“Rarely has a new cookbook made me so eager to get into the kitchen. My copy of Mediterranean Hot and Spicy
immediately sprouted a ruffle of yellow Post-its, marking recipes—both strangers and old friends reinterpreted—that are destined to bring new energy to my customary Mediterranean fare. I am particularly grateful for the chapter on do-ahead spice blends and condiments, an invaluable resource for any pantry and an irresistible invitation to experiment.”
--Mary Taylor Simeti, author of Pomp and Sustenance: Twenty-Five Centuries of Sicilian Food
and On Persephone's Island: A Sicilian Journey