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Fish With Green Tahini

Fish With Green Tahini 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Mar 1, 2016

Here, a cilantro-and-parsley-tinted sauce keeps the fillets moist as they roast in the oven. The sauce's flavor is unexpectedly bright, thanks to a touch of ground cayenne and lots of lemon juice. In truth, the end result tastes better than it looks.

With a sturdy blender, your sauce might look greener than ours; we used a mini food processor and got a green-speckled effect. Tastes just as good, either way. Keeping the skin on the fish helps the fillets hold together; it will slip right off when you plate them.

Serve with couscous or glazed carrots.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • Canola oil, for the baking dish
  • Four 6-ounce red snapper (skin-on) or skinless cod fillets
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup tahini (stir well before using, as needed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves or 1/3 cup pine nuts, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Use a little oil to grease a baking dish that's just large enough to hold the fish in a single layer, then arrange the fillets in it; if you're using red snapper fillets, place them skin side down.

Peel, then coarsely chop the garlic and place it in a blender or mini food processor along with the tahini, ground cayenne pepper, salt, cilantro and parsley leaves. Cut one of the lemons in half; squeeze its juice into the mix, then add 1/4 cup of the water. Puree; if the mixture is too thick, add some or all of the remaining water to form a fairly smooth sauce that's easy to spread. Taste, and add more cayenne or salt, to your liking.

Cover the fish completely with all of the sauce. Roast for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the fillets’ thickness. The fish should be opaque and flake easily under a fork. The sauce will darken slightly.

While the fish is in the oven, cut the remaining lemon into wedges. Toast the walnuts or pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Let them cool, then coarsely chop the walnuts.

If you're using red snapper fillets, discard the skin as you divide the fish among individual plates. Sprinkle the chopped, toasted walnuts or toasted pine nuts over each portion. Serve warm, with the lemon wedges.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home,” by Joyce Goldstein (University of California Press, 2016).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 350

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 17g 26%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 65mg 22%

Sodium: 280mg 12%

Total Carbohydrates: 10g 3%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 0g

Protein: 41g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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