Enjoying the range of fresh Australian seafood, and eager to explore delicious ways of presenting it, I use snapper here and cook it in a Middle Eastern style with classic flavours and traditional herbs and spices from across the ocean.
- 2 eggs
- 4 x 200 g snapper fillets, each cut into 4 pieces
- 150 g potato flour
- 40 g zaatar (see Note)
- 40 g sumac
- 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
Roasted chickpea salad
- 400 g can chickpeas, drained
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 155 g (1 cup) pine nuts or slivered almonds
- 2 bunches coriander, leaves roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 long red chillies, finely chopped
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 180°C. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with salt and pepper, then add the fish and gently mix to coat. Set aside.
Mix the flour, zaatar and sumac in a bowl, then dredge fish pieces in flour mixture until well coated. Set aside on a tray.
To make the chickpea salad, pat chickpeas dry with paper towel, then spread on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Roast for 5 minutes, then add pine nuts to the tray and roast for a further 5 minutes or until lightly roasted. Cool slightly, then gently toss in a bowl with the coriander. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Season and pour over salad.
Heat half the vegetable oil in a heavy-based frying pan (preferably cast-iron) over high heat. Fry the fish, in 2 batches, adding the remaining oil to the second batch, for 1 minute each side or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Spread the chickpea salad over a wide, shallow platter, top with snapper and serve immediately.
* Zaatar, available from delis and Middle Eastern food shops, is a Middle Eastern spice blend of thyme leaves and sumac.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 7, pg104.
Photography by Mark Roper.