Sunday, July 13, 2014

Za'atar Encrusted Fish With Mango Salsa

I haven't really gone into Middle  Eastern cooking apart from the occasional couscous and labneh but I had always been meaning to.:) My last haul from Delhi included za'atar and sumac packets. The temptation to make this dish came from the latest issue of another favourite magazine of mine. It helped that I had all the ingredients in my pantry/fridge.
The accompaniment was pomegranate salsa but I made a mango one. As it is the season for mangoes is about to be over and this is almost like an end-of-the-season celebration.
Za'atar is extensively used in Middle Eastern cooking. It's a mix of  thyme, sumac, coarse sea salt and roasted sesame seeds. Some recipes have more additions like marjoram and oregano. Stored in a cool dark place, this blend will last for a few months. My packet's shelf-life states a 100 days. 

Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping/July 2014 (with slight changes in the salsa)
3 tbsp za'atar
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp semolina
4 fish fillets
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix the first four ingredients and rub over the fish fillets generously.
Let it rest for an hour in the refrigerator.
Place the fish fillets on a baking dish, smear the left-over marinade over the fish and grill at 200C in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Baste the fish with olive oil and remove when the crust gets crisp.

For the mango salsa:
2 ripe but firm  mangoes, peel, remove seed and dice
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp dried mint leaves
1 green chilli, chopped fine
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
Salt to taste
Mix all the ingredients together and let the salsa rest for ten minutes before serving.

The recipe called for fresh mint but since I still had some dried mint left, I used that. The salsa was refreshing and the fish had a totally different taste and flavour. We love to rub our fish pieces with salt and generous doses of turmeric so this taste was indeed different and I loved it!
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