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Fish Tahini Recipe
by John Spottiswood

Fish Tahini

This is a beautiful and tasty dish that I cooked for a group on a getaway weekend at a winery. I was inspired to cook this by the wonderful grilled fish dishes I had almost every night on the greek island of Kos just off the coast of Turkey. This recipe is a bit more elaborate than what I had in Greece, but it is truly delicious. I made this with whole fish purchased and cleaned at a local asian supermarket. However, I think it would also be delicous with fresh fish filets.

Rating: 4.8/5
Avg. 4.8/5 4 votes
Prep time: Middle eastern
Cook time: Servings: 4

Wine and Drink Pairings: viongier


  • 2 pounds whole, white-fleshed fish, cleaned (snapper, bream, barramundi, tilapia, etc.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp harissa (harissa is red chile paste popular in tunisia and can be found in most middle eastern supermarkets. You can substitute another red chile paste if necessary.)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 2 large, firm, ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • For Tahini Sauce
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped, fresh Cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Lightly grease a large baking dish. Make 3 deep diagonal cuts on each side of the fish through the thickest part of the flesh. Liberally season both sides of the fish with kosher salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the garlic, harissa and olive oil in a small dish. Place 2 teaspoons in the fish cavity and spread the remainder over both sides rubbing into the slits you made with the knife. Place 2 lemon slices in the fish cavity.
  3. Arrange the onion in a layer on the baking dish. Top with the tomato, thyme sprigs and remaining lemon slices. Place the fish on top and bake, uncovered, for about 25-30 minutes, until the flesh is opaque.
  4. While the fish is baking, make the tahini sauce by heating the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the tahini, lemon juice and 1/2 cup water. Stir and cook for 2 minutes then remove from heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Season the sauce with kosher salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer the onion and tomato to a serving dish and place the fish on top. Season lightly with kosher salt. Pour some of the tahini sauce over the fish and put the rest in a small serving dish on the side. Serve immediately.