The unusual combination of labna and fish will surprise you with its delicious flavour. Labna is strained yoghurt, traditionally eaten for breakfast in Lebanese cuisine. Dukkah is a Moroccan spice and nut mixture. Chef Hassan M’Souli from Out of Africa restaurant talks us through how to bake fish with these complex spices and textures.
- 100 g (3½ oz) blanched almonds
- 2 kg whole barramundi, cleaned, scaled, at room temperature
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp freshly ground white pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ preserved lemon, chopped
- garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 red onion, peeled, chopped
- ½ bunch coriander (cilantro), finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
- 2 tbsp dukkah
- 1 cup labna
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
- red or green harissa and salad to serve
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.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Roast the almonds under a hot oven grill for 7 minutes, or until browned. Chop roughly. Turn off grill and adjust oven to 180°C (350°F) or gas mark 4.
In a bowl, stir the preserved lemon with 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic, onion, coriander, dukkah and remaining salt and pepper. Continue stirring and add the almonds and labna to create a thick paste.
Season the fish with half of the salt and pepper, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and wrap in baking paper. Place the wrapped fish on an oven tray and bake for 35 minutes, or until almost cooked through. Peel the skin from the barramundi on the side facing up and spread the labna paste over the exposed flesh and cover with baking paper. Place back into the oven for a further 5-10 minutes, or until just cooked through.
Serve on a large plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and coriander sprigs, serve with red or green harissa and salad.
• Labna is available from Middle-eastern delicatessens, or make your own by draining 2 ½ cups Greek-style yoghurt in slightly dampened and wrung out piece of muslin. Tie into a moneybag style sack and hang in refrigerator with a bowl underneath to catch dripping liquid for 24hrs.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto.