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Sephardi Hot Spiced Fish


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Sephardi Hot Spiced Fish


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Sephardi Hot Spiced Fish

I watched this Sephardi spiced fish recipe lovingly prepared in a warm Fez kitchen. It explodes with flavor, showing the Sephardis’ creativity in combining fruit, vegetables, and spices to enhance the flavor of the fish. Ask your fishmonger to prepare the fish for you by gutting it, scraping off all the scales, and removing the large backbone. Removing the head is optional


  • Prep Time : 10 min
  • Cook Time : 30-40 min
  • Ready Time : 40 min




    For the fish

    • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped (seeds and membrane removed)
    • 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped (seeds and membrane removed)
    • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
    • 2 large plump fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
    • 1 lemon, roughly chopped
    • 1 small orange, roughly chopped
    • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 1 x 3-lb whole fish, such as line-caught sea bass or bream
    • 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped
    • 1⁄2 cup vegetable stock or white wine

    For the Chermoula rub and filling

    • 11⁄2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
    • 11⁄2 cups fresh cilantro, finely chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely crushed
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 11⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • a pinch of saffron strands
    • juice of 1⁄2 lemon
    • 1⁄3 cup olive oil
    • 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped


    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the vegetables and fruit in a large ovenproof dish or roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon and place the fish on top. Slash both sides of the fish with a sharp knife ready for the marinade.

    Combine the ingredients for the Chermoula rub in a large bowl and mix well together.  Divide the mixture into two. Add the finely chopped preserved lemon to one bowl and mix well. Using your hands, stuff this mixture into the cavity of the fish.

    Take the second half of the mixture and spread it over the fish, rubbing it into the slits with your fingers. Pour over the vegetable stock or wine, cover with foil, and bake in the oven for about 30–40 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when poked with a fork.


    About Ruth Joseph


    Ruth Joseph has appeared on several television programs in the U.K., including "The Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best." She also contributes to the food pages of The Jewish Chronicle, as well as The Guardian, Daily Express, and BBC Olive and Red magazines.




    6 Responses to Sephardi Hot Spiced Fish

    1. avatar says: Sumbul

      Which fish do you recommend?

      • Thank you soo much for your interest. It’s heartwarming when someone wants to try a recipe and this is a glorious one.xxx
        What I would suggest is a firm fish and if you are religious you may wish to have one with the head. So a boned salmon or we have sea-bass which is lighter in flesh but equally as delicious. Enjoy warmest wishes Ruth Joseph x

    2. avatar says: chanie

      is the orange and lemon peeled or unpeeled before chopping?

      • Hi Chanie
        lovely to hear from you
        just scrub the skins well to remove any dirt or wax and then leave as you chop into large pieces.
        The extra flavour given from all that zest contribtes to the fianl result and is glorious.
        enjoy xx

        • avatar says: chanie

          never used fennel b4. do i use the whole thing tops and leave? what other recipes can it b used in?

          • Usually we cut off the tops and just use the main bulb. But the fennel fronds make a nice garnish. Check out these recipes using fennel, it is really good just simply roasted – Fennel Recipes

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