North-African Style Spicy Fish
Jewish communities across North Africa—in Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia—had regionally influenced variations of white fish poached in a spicy red sauce. Versions of this dish were served at Shabbat dinners, and today it’s enjoyed across Israel. This boldly-flavored rendition comes together easily and can be an appetizer or main dish.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh red chiles or 1–2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, minced
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup water
- 4 firm white fish fillets, such as halibut or cod
- Chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish, optional
- In a deep-sided pot or skillet over medium heat, warm a thin layer of oil. Add the garlic, chiles and paprika, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the lemon juice, tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste. Add the water and bring to a boil.
- Gently add fish, turn to coat and cover. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover and let cool 10 minutes. Serve, sprinkled with cilantro, if using.
- Variation Tip: For a thicker sauce, remove the fish when done and boil the sauce for a few minutes to reduce.
- Excerpt from The Essential Jewish Cookbook, by Marcia A. Friedman, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2021 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.