Whole Fish with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate Seeds


Hey y’all! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the last few days of my VACATION basking in the glory of my mom’s kitchen, with its new stove complete with 2 ovens (!), her mountains of high quality cooking tools, pleasant lighting, spaciousness, and radio playing NPR. Oh, and a really cute dog… (see my next post: TBA.)

Yesterday I got out a lovely cookbook my mom has of Yotam Ottolenghi – an Israeli chef who has had a prolific career in London for the past 15 or so years. His book is full of the kind of recipes we love on this blog: simple concoctions that are easy to make in large or small quantities, and are full of herbs, interesting sauces, and flavors from around the world.

The recipe I based this one off of suggests using sea bream fillets, but I used whole fish. Why? Eh, it seemed a bit more festive and I just kind of felt like it. Why not? (I will answer this question later.)


  •  3-4 whole red snapper (In reality, if recreating this recipe I think fillets would probably be better. I will further explain below. Any mildly flavored white fish will do.)
  • 1/3 C tahini
  • 1/3 C water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 Tbsp finely chopped parsely
  • Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • A bunch of coarsely chopped parsely for garnish
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Set the oven at 400. Heavily season the fish: if using whole, season the cavity and both sides of the skin. If using fillets, season all over. Drizzle olive oil in the cavity and on both sides, or over the fillets.
  2. Bake – the red snapper took ~20 min. Fillets will take less.

  1. Prepare the sauce while the fish is baking: wisk together the tahini, water, lemon, and finely chopped parsely.
  2. When the fish is done, if using whole fish, fillet out the meat of the fish and discard the carcasses. This is basically a huge pain in the butt! Which is why its better to use fillets in the first place. The problem with the whole fish here is that part of the point of the recipe is drizzling the sauce over the fish and garnishing with lemon zest, parsley and pomegranate seeds, and you kind of lose the effect if you deal with the whole fish on your plate and pick it apart yourself (which I would generally consider enjoyable if not dealing with the previously mentioned accoutrements,) dipping each little bit in sauce. Make sense? So that’s my two cents.
  3. Well, I guess I kind of gave it away in #4: drizzle the sauce over the fish, and sprinkle on the lemon zest, pomegranate seeds and coarsely chopped parsley.

A nice thing about this dish (in addition to the wonderful combo of the tahini with the bitter/sweetness of the lemon and pomegranate) is that its super quick! Probably only took about 35 min from start to finish, including cooking the fish, and would be even quicker if using fillets.

2 thoughts on “Whole Fish with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate Seeds

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