Tunisian Fish

This Tunisian fish fillet is packed with Mediterranean flavors! It is amazing how such simple ingredients can add up to a gourmet meal. Easy and fast for a busy weeknight, but special enough for a celebration dinner.
Tunisian Fish
Tunisian Fish

Tunisian Fish

Today’s recipe is inspired by one of our favorite Mediterranean restaurants. They call this dish Tunisian Fish Fillet. It’s basically fried fish topped with a delicious mixture of Tunisian flavors: harissa, olives, capers, lemon, and garlic. I prefer mine fried because it adds a crisp texture, but if you want to avoid frying you can grill or bake the fish instead.

What is Harissa Sauce?

For me, the distinctive taste of harissa makes this dish far from ordinary. Harissa is a flavorful Tunisian hot sauce that is popular in North Africa and the Middle East. It is a blend of red peppers, chili peppers, olive oil, garlic and aromatic spices, like cumin, coriander, caraway, and mint.

Harissa livens up everything from soups, stews, roasted potatoes, and even scrambled eggs. I love putting this sauce on my hummus to spice it up a bit! It gives a distinct peppery taste without being too spicy.

Where to buy harissa?

Harissa sauce or Harissa paste should not be hard to find. I buy mine at my local grocery store in the international foods section. It is also available online here.

How to Make This Tunisian Fish Fillet?

Making this dish is quite simple and easy. Fry (or grill or bake) the fish; make the harissa-flavored topping separately then just put them together!

Tunisian Fish

The first step is to prepare the fish. I use Sole fish fillets but any firm white fish like tilapia or sea bass will do. Pat dry the fillets then season with salt and pepper. Combine the flour and lemon zest. Mix it well and coat each fish portion. You just need a thin coating on both sides.

Fry the fish on medium heat and then flip to the other side. The frying time will depend on the thickness of your fish. The goal is to achieve a light, crispy coating. When the fish is done, set them aside.

If you’re going to grill or bake the fist, omit the entire step of coating the fish with flour. After seasoning the fillets with salt and pepper, drizzle the fillets with olive oil then grill or bake until fish is cooked.

Tunisian Fish

The next step is to make the flavorful topping. In a shallow pan, heat some olive oil (on medium heat) then saute the onions until translucent then add the garlic. Be careful not to burn the garlic! Add the chopped olives, capers, tomatoes, pepper, and harissa into the pan. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 5-6 minutes, mixing constantly, to combine all the flavors together. Have a taste and season with salt, pepper, or more harissa, if needed

Tunisian Fish

TIP: The harissa sauce I use is on the mildly spicy side. Since different brands have different spice levels, you might need to adjust the amount according to your taste. If you’re using harissa paste instead of harissa sauce I suggest starting with a smaller amount, about 1/2 tablespoon, since pastes are generally more concentrated.

Top your fish with this Tunisian-flavored sauce and you’re ready to go! As you see in the photos, I serve this Tunisian Fish Fillet with Meditteranean Butter Rice and 5-Minute Turkish Shepherd’s Salad. I promise you, they are PERFECT TOGETHER!

Tunisian Fish
Tunisian Fish
 

Tunisian Fish

Tunisian Fish

*This recipe first appeared as my guest post for KaleidoscopeLiving.com.

Here’s the print-friendly recipe.

Tunisian Fish

This Tunisian fish recipe is packed with Mediterranean flavors! It is amazing how such simple ingredients can add up to a gourmet meal. Easy and fast for a busy weeknight, but special enough for a celebration dinner. #mediterraneanFood #healthy
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Trish | www.SpoonfulOfButter.com

Ingredients

For the fish fillets

  • 2 pieces Sole fish fillets or any firm white fish fillets such as sea bass cream dory, or tilapia
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • zest of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper

For the fish topping

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 piece medium onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup black olives chopped
  • 1 tablespoons capers
  • 225 grams cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons harissa sauce (see note 2)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • PREPARE THE FISH: Season the fish with some salt and pepper. Combine the flour and lemon zest. Mix it well and coat each fish portion. You just need a thin coating on both sides. (see Note 1)
  • FRY THE FISH: Fry the fish on medium heat and then flip to the other side to fry as well. The frying time will depend on the thickness of your fish. The goal is to achieve a light, crispy coating. When the fish is done, set them aside.
  • MAKE THE FISH TOPPING: In a shallow pan, heat some olive oil (on medium heat) then saute the onions until translucent then add the garlic. Be careful not to burn the garlic! Add the chopped olives, capers, tomatoes, pepper, and harissa in the pan. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 5-6 minutes, mixing constantly, to get all the flavors together. Have a taste and season with salt, pepper, or more harissa, if needed.
  • ASSEMBLE AND SERVE: Top the fried fish with the Tunisian topping and serve immediately.

Notes

(Note 1) If you’re going to grill or bake the fist, omit the entire step of coating the fish with flour. After seasoning the fillets with salt and pepper, drizzle the fillets with olive oil then grill or bake until fish is cooked.
(Note 2) The harissa sauce I use is on the mildly spicy side. Since different brands have different spice levels, you might need to adjust the amount according to your taste. If you're using harissa paste instead of harissa sauce I suggest starting with a smaller amount, about 1/2 tablespoon, since pastes are generally more concentrated.
 

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