This dish named Mahi-Shekampor ماهی شکم پر originates from Southern Iran and literally translates to stuffed fish. As per the name, the dish is not just limited to rainbow trout however trout is a lovely light, oily fish and is complimented by the tart, citrus kick of the preserved lemons in the stuffing. This dish is not only a feast of vibrant colors but of wonderful textures, hidden inside the belly of the fish are crunchy toasted pine nuts offer a refreshing contrast to the delicate flaky fish, then you have the crispy fish skin, the light crunch of the asparagus, the salted potatoes and the soft flesh of the plump cherry tomatoes, their juiciness barely contained within the thin skins, divine!
Ingredients (Serves 4 Skinny or 2 Greedy- I include myself in the latter group..obviously!)
50g of pine nuts
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 red chili, thinly sliced and de-seeded
4 preserved lemons, finely chopped
150g of portobello mushrooms
350g of baby new potatoes, sliced in half
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
10 cherry tomatoes
100g of asparagus
a large handful of fresh coriander (leaves and stalks), chopped
1 large bunch of spring onions, sliced finely
2 large whole rainbow trout, about 500-600g, each gutted and descaled - trout is a very bony fish so you can get the fishmonger or a friend to remove the back-bone and all bones- great!
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
a slosh of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180 c. and line a tray with aluminium foil.
Toast the pine-nuts in a saucepan without oil, it will only take a few minutes until the pine nuts start to brown and you will smell them toasting. Remove the pan promptly from the heat as they start to brown as they will continue to cook in the residual heat.
Par-boil your potatoes for 5 minutes then leave to the side, drain when cool.
Set a large frying pan over a medium heat, drizzle in a generous slosh of olive oil to cover the base of the pan, then begin to sauté the garlic and chilies, stirring well to prevent burning. Once the garlic is translucent, add the spring onion slices, followed by the chopped coriander stalks and leaves (leave a small amount for later). Once the spring onions soften, fold in the preserved lemons and pine nuts, then season to taste. Switch off the pan, and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Place the baby potatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, a tsp of paprika and a tsp of cayenne pepper, making sure to rub the oil and spices into the potato skin. Add plenty of seasoning, then place in the oven to cook.
Place the whole trout in the tray lined with aluminium foil. Divide the mixture into two (or four) and open up the belly cavities of the fish, then stuff the mixture inside the belly and the head cavities. Then drizzle the skin with olive oil, as this will ensure the skin is crispy and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Whilst the fish lay our your vegetables on separate trays. The mushrooms will need a drizzle of oil and some of the chopped parsley, then prepare your cherry tomatoes and asparagus on a baking tray, both with a drizzle of oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Roast all the veg for at least 10 minutes, checking to see the asparagus is still crunchy so as not to overcook it.
Once the fish is cooked, use a fork to flake the fish, if it comes off easily and is opaque, it is ready. Serve alongside the vegetables on warm plates.
<my grandma made me remove one of the poor sod's heads! she didn't want to have it on her plate, fussy!
The Foody Girl