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I saw a friend, Caryn Roll, in a skirt that suited her to a tee—And it was a skirt, a dress and a top all in one. How’s that for versatility? I’m not above copying Caryn—with her permission, of course.

Here is something else that merits copying. Need a change from good old gefilte fish at holiday time? Wake everyone up with this tasty treat: White Fish in Red Hot Spicy Sauce will have your diners chanting like Charles Dickens Oliver Twist: “More, please!”  Credit goes to the crazy popular Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s “Jerusalem” cookbook.

Thanks to Physio Shelley Alper for suggesting this recipe. Her family loved it with salmon, and my family loved it with sea bass. I may have to try it with chicken, chickpeas or lamb. Dare me to try tofu?

Sea Bass in Red Hot Spicy Sauce

White Fish in Red Hot Spicy Sauce

  • 1/4 c olive oil, plus 1-2 T
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 lb fish, seasoned with sea salt and pepper
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 t paprika
  • 2 T caraway seeds, briefly toasted, then ground
  • 3 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t each cayenne pepper, cinnamon
  • 1 green chile, coarsely chopped
  • 6 T tomato paste and 1 1/3 cup of water
  • 4 t honey
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 2 T coarsely chopped herbs: cilantro, parsley or dill
  • 1 lemon, quartered, as garnish (optional)

Make a paste by blending garlic, 1/4 cup of olive oil, paprika, caraway, cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and chile in a processor.

Place the flour in a clean bag. Put the fish into the bag with the flour, one piece at a time. Hold the bag closed and shake to coat the fish in flour. Place the fish on a plate and repeat until all the fish is coated.

Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick pan. Sear the fish for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove the fish from the pan.

Heat a little olive oil in the same pan. Add the spicy paste and stir over medium-high for half a minute. Add the water and tomato paste. Turn the heat down to low and add honey, lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Place fish into sauce and simmer, covered for 6 minutes. If needed, cook a little longer until fish flakes, indicating that it is done. Allow it to cool. Serve warm, garnished with green herbs and a lemon wedge.

Serves 4. Serve with Challah or whole wheat couscous and a salad.

White Fish in Red Hot Spicy Sauce Print Ready Recipe

IMG_3388Sea Bass in Red Hot Spicy Sauce

Final notes:

  • Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Sea Bass in Red Hot Spicy Sauce