Saturday, May 2, 2015

Baked Fish with Garlic and Coriander | Stephanie Alexander recipe

I’ve tried another one of the simple recipes from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. Tonight I cooked one of her baked fish dishes for dinner. Stephanie is right: with a piece of fresh fish, a lemon in one hand and bottle of olive oil dinner is only a few minutes away. Living on the east coast of Australia, we are lucky to have a choice, abundance and ready access to fresh fish. We all should take advantage of this. You don’t need me to tell you that eating fish is healthy for you and so easy to prepare. It’s lower in fat and calories than meat or poultry and can be a great source of omega-3s.

This is a recipe I used from Stephanie Alexander’s cookbook. I baked a fresh barramundi but you can use snapper, a popular Australian fish. I’ve done this recipe a few times now and a key tip is to make sure you use a baking dish that’s oven friendly and large enough to hold the fish because as Stephanie says lifting a whole baked fish neatly on a plate is a perilous procedure (I’ve lost the tail a few times which meant the fish was definitely not photogenic).

Fresh fish is sensational so buy it on the day you eat it. Stephanie's cookbook says you can tell fish is fresh as it should not smell, the eyes should be clear and protruding and the gills should be bright pink-red, never brown. The body should look shiny and be firm and springy when prodded.

Try it one day. It’s pretty simple, healthy, and delicious. The walnut dressing works well with the mild taste of fish flesh. This dish is of Middle Eastern origin where it is called 'samak harra'.


Fresh fish – snapper, blue eye coral trout, red emperor (this is what is listed down but I used the Australian barramundi)

375 g walnuts, roughly chopped

1 bunch of coriander, freshly chopped

7-10 cloves of garlic, crushed ½ cup olive oil

Juice of 2-3 lemons


1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


#1 Preheat over to 180 degrees C.

#2 Wash fish inside and out and dry thoroughly.

#3 Put into a lightly oiled baking dish

#4 Combine remaining ingredients to produce a sauce, adding a little water if necessary.

#5 Spoon some sauce into the cavity of fish and pour the rest on top

#6 Bake for 40 minutes or until fish is done.

The instructions says to ‘serve hot or cold’. I prefer it hot and have it served with oven roasted sweet potatoes too. Also I always cover the baking dish with foil paper when it is in the oven to prevent the fish from drying out. I haven’t tried it without covering with foil paper.

What I like about this recipe is its minimum input, maximum output... minimum food preparation time, but what you get is a delicious healthy dinner meal for up to 3-4 people.


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