By the end of the High Holiday season I was utterly fed up with eating salmon. We seemed to be having it at almost every meal – hot with toppings, cold with salads, smoked salmon, pate… I was even dreaming about it at night! And then one evening, I was looking in the fridge for the salmon and I froze. I just couldn’t bring myself to make salmon yet again! It was time to shake myself out of this cooking rut before I faced mutiny at the dinner table!
Having decided to be a bit more creative with our fish, the first step was to buy some white fish fillets. I got hake, although this easy baked fish recipe would work fine with any flaky white fish – cod, haddock, whatever you fancy. The second step in my rut-busting plan was to create an easy and delicious dish with them. Simple!
I do love to cook fish and vegetables together because:
- The flavours intermingle and everything becomes super-delicious
- You get your protein and your side dish all in one pot – less washing up!
- Colourful veggies make everything look beautiful
This easy baked fish didn’t disappoint on any of these points! The sweet peppers and caramelised onions were infused with the hawaij* spice that marinated the fish, and the pan juices were a wonderful combination of flavours – perfect spooned over the rice that we had alongside. You can see for yourself how pretty those rainbow-hued peppers looked. And yes, minimal washing up. Easy to make, easy to eat, and easy to clean up – win-win-win!
This wonderful baked fish certainly shook us out of our dinnertime rut… for the time being at least 😋
(*Hawaij is a Yemenite spice blend which is fairly ubiquitous in Israel where it is used to season everything from soup and rice to fish, meat and vegetables. I bought some when I visited Tel Aviv’s Levinsky market but you can make your own by combining 1 tbsp each of black peppercorns, cardamom seeds and coriander seeds and 3 tbsp each of cumin seeds and ground turmeric. Grind the ingredients together in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and store in an airtight jar. You can also buy this version from Steenbergs, although the ingredients in their blend differ from the recipe above, and probably from the one I bought in Israel, too!)
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Baked fish with hawaij spices and sweet rainbow peppers
An easy family meal of succulent spiced fish with sweet juicy peppers. Serve with rice for a simple dinner that everyone will love.
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 medium-large peppers, deseeded and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
To marinate the fish
- 4 hake fillets (approx 100g each)
- juice of half a lemon
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp hawaij spice blend
Heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet and fry the sliced onions for 2-3 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the sliced peppers and the garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse the fish and pat dry. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil and hawaij spices in a bowl, then add the fish fillets and turn gently to coat evenly.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Spread 2/3 of the pepper mixture over the base of a baking dish. Arrange the fish fillets on top, and pour any remaining marinade over. Spoon the remaining 1/3 of the peppers over the fish.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake at 180C for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the peppers are just beginning to char.
Serve at once, with any pan juices spooned over.
To make hawaij spice mix - combine 1 tbsp each of black peppercorns, cardamom seeds and coriander seeds and 3 tbsp each of cumin seeds and ground turmeric. Grind together in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Store in an airtight jar.