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.
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