Recipes | Yoghurt-baked fish with walnut-herb crumbs

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Yoghurt-baked fish with walnut-herb crumbs

This recipe came from a fascinating dinner at which chef Greg Malouf cooked a selection of Iranian dishes from his book Saraban which he wrote with his former wife Lucy with whom he still collaborates. This unusual and simple fish dish in yoghurt particularly appealed to me and I thought it would to you too.

Mahi-e mast-gerdu
YOGHURT BAKED FISH WITH WALNUT–HERB CRUMBS

Greg writes: Although it might at first seem a little strange to bake fish in yoghurt, I guarantee that this wonderful dish from the north of Iran, with its crunchy walnut and herb topping, will surprise and delight you. You’ll need to select a firm white fish that becomes succulent and tender as it cooks – I find rock ling (a south Australian fish) ideal.

SERVES 6
unsalted butter, for greasing
1 kg firm white fish fillet, skin removed
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
rice and fresh herbs, to serve

WALNUT–HERB CRUMBS
150 g fresh breadcrumbs
150 g shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped
and sieved
1/4 cup shredded flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup shredded tarragon leaves or
dill sprigs
90 g unsalted butter, melted

YOGHURT SAUCE
250 g thick natural yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon cornflour
1 large egg
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons finely snipped chives
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly butter a baking dish just large enough to fit the fish comfortably.

To make the walnut–herb crumbs, combine the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.

To make the yoghurt sauce, whisk the yoghurt with the cornflour and egg. Stir in the shallot, chives, lime juice and oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Remove any stray bones from the fish, then cut the fillet into 6 even pieces. Season the fish lightly all over with salt and pepper and arrange in the baking dish. Pour the yoghurt sauce over the fish. Pack a generous layer of the walnut–herb crumbs on top of each piece of fish. Season lightly again and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the topping is golden and crunchy and the fish is cooked through.

Serve straight away with your choice of rice and fresh herbs. (Greg served this with a simple pilau and the very pretty fresh herb and flower salad in my rather blurry picture, right)

What to drink: We actually drank a rather grand Chablis premier cru with this but I think a simple crisp white like a Picpoul de Pinet or an Albariño would work just as well.

Saraban is published by Hardie Grant at £30.

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