FOR ME, THE AROMA OF ROSE PETALS WAFTING THROUGH THE AIR IS REMINISCENT OF MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE.
There was seldom a special occasion where rose water didn’t feature amongst the feast. It’s a flavor that has to be used sparingly. Too much is over-powering. But a touch of the floral essence can be magical. Such is the case with this dish.
This is yet another Ottolenghi recipe, and probably my favorite. Here’s the original recipe. I choose to double up the flavors in the sauce. It’s purely optional but worth it.
HERE’S MY TAKE:
- 5 tbsp harissa paste (store-bought or see recipe )
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 sea bass fillets or any other white, flaky fish (bones removed)
- all-purpose flour, for dusting
- olive oil for frying
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp rose water
- 1/2 lemon, juice
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander/cilantro (optional)
- 2 tsp small dried edible rose petals (or regular petals – just don’t eat them)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
*Don’t forget to scroll down for your Savory Sounds cooking soundtrack.
- Prepare the marinade by mixing together 3 tablespoons of harissa, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few squeezes of lemon juice in a small bowl. Rub the paste all over the fish fillets and leave them to marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
- 30-40 minutes before serving, take the fish out of the fridge. Pat the fillets with a flour on both sides, shaking off the excess.
- Heat the olive oil in a wide frying pan over medium-high-heat and fry the fillets for about 2 minutes on each side. Set the fish aside, leave the oil in the pan, and add the onions. Stir as you cook until the onions are golden.
- Add 1 tbsp of harissa, the vinegar, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and plenty of black pepper. Pour in the water, lower the heat, and let the sauce simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, until quite thick.
- Add the honey and rose water to the pan along with the currants, if using. If the sauce is too thick, add water.
- This is optional, but I like to add another tbsp of harissa and another cup of water. Let the mixture simmer again until the sauce is thick and rich. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Return the fish to the sauce 1-2 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the fish.
- Sprinkle with the coriander/cilantro, if using, and the rose petals.
The sauce is so incredibly delicious, try it with chicken or meat too. It’s divine!
SINCE THIS RECIPE BRINGS BACK SO MANY MEMORIES, THESE TUNES ARE BRILLIANT BLASTS FROM THE PAST.
First, I’m De La Soul-ing. Here’s a classic. Get ready to blast it:
This is a different vibe from Groove Armada, but nostalgic just the same.
Finally, there are many remixes of this song. But the original Lost Frequencies version is my fave.