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SAMKEH HARRA TARABULSIYEH | Flaked Spicy Fish in Tahini Sauce


 

SAMKEH HARRA TARABULSIYEH | Flaked Spicy Fish in Tahini Sauce

 

Samkeh Harra, which literally translates to spicy fish, is a specialty of Tripoli, a northern coastal port city in Lebanon.

Variations of this recipe can also be found along the Mediterranean coast of Syria, from the southern city of Tartus up to Latakia.  Traditionally considered an appetizer as part of the Lebanese mezze table, samkeh harra can be served hot, at room temperature or cold.

 

SAMKEH HARRA TARABULSIYEH | Flaked Spicy Fish in Tahini Sauce

Any firm white fish like sea bass, red snapper, pacific rockfish or haddock can be used.

SAMKEH HARRA TARABULSIYEH | Flaked Spicy Fish in Tahini Sauce

 

SAMKEH HARRA TARABULSIYEH | FLAKED SPICY FISH IN TAHINI SAUCE

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2 1/2 lbs firm white fish fillets, preferably wild caught
spices and/or herbs to season fish
a splash of olive oil

half a cup pine nuts, toasted with a drizzle of oil until golden, divided in two

for tarator sauce:
1/2 cup tahini, sesame seed paste
2/3-to-3/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 medium red onion, finely diced
sunflower or olive oil
one or two Serrano chili peppers, minced
8-to-12 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
cumin, to taste
1-to-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2-to-1 teaspoon shatta, a middle eastern chili sauce
a handful of fresh cilantro leaves, or parsley, minced

Prepare fish. Rub fish with a bit of olive oil and season as desired – you can use any firm white fish like sea bass, red snapper, pacific rockfish or haddock. Bake covered in a pre-heated 350F oven for 20-to-40 minutes, depending on fillet thickness and type of fish, until opaque in color and flesh flakes easily when poked with a fork. Drain liquids if necessary, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to use.

Divide oven-toasted pine nuts into two equal parts. In a food processor, process 1/4 cup to a paste; you will use it in the sauce.

Prepare tarator sauce. Add tahini, lemon juice and water into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  To a pan add onions and oil and sauté on medium heat until it just starts to caramelize. Add chili peppers and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

To the same pan add coriander, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili sauce. Bring to a gentle boil; stirring continuously. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes until slightly thickened; turn off heat. Add cilantro or parsley leaves and the 1/4 cup pine nuts previously processed to a paste. Mix to combine thoroughly and adjust seasonings if necessary as needed.

* Fish can be prepared a day in advance and sauce up to 3 days in advance and kept refrigerated.

Assemble dish. About an hour or two before serving, flake fish into large chunks and gently mix with some of the sauce. Arrange onto a platter and cover with remaining tarator sauce; you do not necessarily have to use all of it. Garnish with 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts and serve at room temperature.

** You can make samkeh harra sandwiches with leftovers, on pita bread with shredded lettuce and tomatoes. Don’t forget the tabbouleh and fries now!

recipe adapted from Aznive’s Homemade Foods and Desserts on Facebook

 

SAMKEH HARRA TARABULSIYEH | Flaked Spicy Fish in Tahini Sauce

 

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