Whether you’re new to the cooking game or a seasoned chef, everyone makes seafood differently, adding in their own touches from what they’ve seen in restaurants or have figured out on their own. It goes without saying that some recipes seen on TV are much easier said than done when you’re actually at home trying to prepare them on your own, and chef Tomer Hauptman is here to help us with that.
Tomer Hauptman, who is based in the UK, has provided us at FoodSided with some at-home fish recipes that are enough to make your stomach growl. From here, we’ll hand it over to the expert, who has shared his delicious methods.
Ceviche is basically a ‘salad’ of raw fresh fish, onion, chili pepper, and herbs, seasoned with heaps of citrus that ‘cures’ the fish a bit, and makes the salad super refreshing. The options and variations are almost endless; basically, any crunchy vegetable/fruit can go here, as well as any fresh herb. It’s critical that fish is very fresh of course; seabass, seabream, tuna, or yellowtail would all be ideal and quite easy to handle also for non-professionals.
I like to use both lemon and lime for extra freshness and acidity. Here’s the version with kohlrabi, avocado, and pomegranate (serves 2):
- 1 fillet seabass/seabream, clean perfectly from skin/bones (should be around 120gr)
- ½ kohlrabi
- ½ avocado
- 2 spring onion
- ½ red chili pepper (or more if you want)
- Lemon + lime, olive oil, Maldon salt
- 2-3 pink radishes (optional)
- 2 springs coriander
- 2 spoons of pomegranate seeds
Cut fish, kohlrabi, and avocado to even 1.5 cm cubes. Slice the chili fine and chop the herbs more finely. If you add radishes, slice them fine.
Start with mixing the fish and kohlrabi with a god squeeze of lemon and lime, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Allow to ‘marinade’ for 3-4 minutes.
Add all the rest, leaving the avocado to the very end (so it doesn’t go mushy). Taste and fix your seasoning – and don’t hesitate with more citrus, as it must be bursting with flavor and acidity.
Lastly, add the avocado and mix gently. Sprinkle some pomegranate and serve.
Optional – serve over a smear of Greek yogurt.
Fish carpaccio recipe
Slicing carpaccio is a bit trickier for the non-professionals as it requires some knife skills and knowledge. However, you can achieve a nice result by using the method of arranging slices of fish on a gently greased piece of parchment, then fold over the fish and ‘hammer’ it gently to thin it.
After that, simply flip the paper over the center of a flat plate, so fish sticks to it, then gently remove the paper, and there you go – you got a beautiful fish carpaccio ready to be seasoned.
Again, options for seasoning and garnish are endless, but almost by default should have olive oil, citrus, and fresh herbs. Different than the ceviche, here you want to eat it immediately and straight after your seasoning. Here’s the ‘Tel Aviv style’ version with tomato seeds, chili, and marjoram:
- I fillet seabass, prepared for carpaccio (might be enough for 2 plates)
- Olive oil, lemon juice, flaky sea salt
- Green chili pepper finely sliced
- 3-4 cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 pink radishes finely sliced
- A fresh herb of your choice (we use marjoram which was fantastic, but coriander, mint, oregano, dill, fennel leaf, spring onion are great as well – all optional)
Simply season your carpaccio, and arrange the ‘toppings’ nicely. Always leave the salt to the end (so the lemon juice doesn’t ‘wash’ it). The cherry tomatoes simply slice in half and squeeze over your plate.
Fish ‘koftas’ recipe – 2 ways
For the fish mix:
- 500 gr seabass/seabream, clean from any skin/bones
- 2 spoons of finely chopped herbs (parsley, coriander, spring onion, mint, dill; any combination can work. If you choose mint, use more moderately than the others)
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- ½ green chili pepper, finely chopped
- 3-4 spoons olive oil
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Salt + pepper
Chop the fish by hand or with a few pulses in a food processor, then mix well with all the other components until all comes together. Form into ping pong sized balls, then flatten them a bit. Wetting your hands with water will help.
Sauce/base – option 1 – ‘Spicha’:
‘Spicha’ is a super quick and fresh tomato sauce, made just from tomatoes, chili pepper, and garlic, and often topped with big chunks of fried (or baked) aubergine. It’s fantastic as a shakshuka base, and ideal for fish koftas. You’ll need:
- 5-6 large ripe tomatoes, boiled quickly just so you can peel them – then cut into 8 pieces or so
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 aubergine – fried or baked
- ½ green chili pepper (or more if you want spicier)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt + pepper
In a wide pan put oil, chili, and garlic, then turn the heat on high. When everything is sizzling and fragrant, add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then stir well. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. If it looks dry, you can always add a bit of water. Taste and fix your seasoning.
Sauce/base – option 2 – ‘Hamusta’:
‘Hamusta’ is a very simple and quick stew/base inspired by the famous Kubbe soup. Because of its acidity (lemon juice), it works terrific as a base for fish. It can also be nice even with chicken.
For 3-4 portions :
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 4-5 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 1 green chili pepper, broken in half
- 5 garlic cloves, sliced
- A couple of handfuls of leafy greens – chard is ideal, spinach/cavolo nero will work, as well as simply some parsley and coriander. In any case, very roughly chopped.
- 1-2 potatoes (optional) – cut into medium cubes and boiled in water with ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp turmeric, until soft but still firm (around 10-15 minutes)
- 1 tin cooked chickpeas (best are organic, from Italy), drained from liquid
- ¼ tsp turmeric (or a bit more – you want your stew to get this nice yellowy color)
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp cumin (optional – most of the time I don’t put)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt + pepper
- 1 lemon
In a wide pan heat olive oil on high. When hot, add onion, celery, and chili and stir fry for 4-5 minutes until it starts to soften.
Add garlic and spices (including salt + pepper) and fry for another 1-2 minutes, then add about ½ cup hot water, bring to boil, and lower heat to simmer.
Add greens, chickpeas, and potatoes (if you choose to), squeeze in ½ the lemon, and stir gently. Taste and fix seasoning.
Fish ‘arayes’ recipe
For the arayes, we use the same ‘kofta’ fish mix, only adding some caramelized onions with ras el hanout spice for some sweetness and juiciness. I think this recipe should be enough for at least 3 pitas – which will make 12 triangles of arayes:
- 1 recipe kofta mix
- 1 large onion – caramelized in a pan (on medium heat) with 3-4 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt until nice and golden (around 10 minutes or so)
- 1 tsp ras el hanout
- Optional: 5-6 shrimps, cleaned completely and chopped
Heat up the oven to 180. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix very well. The best is to taste the mix, or make a tiny ball, cook it and then taste. Fix seasoning if needed.
Cut pitas in half. Stuff with fish mix evenly, so the stuffing is about 2.5 cm. When all halves are stuffed, carefully cut them into quarters. Now your arayes are all ready to be brushed in oil and roasted.
Ideally with a brush, oil each quarter from all sides, especially the opened sides where the stuffing is.
Heat up your griddled steak pan. When super hot, grill your arayes gently from all sides, just to get some nice ‘stripes’ on them. When grilling the open part, be careful as the fish mix might stick a bit (the best method is to use a steel spatula).
Transfer into a pan and bake in the oven until super crispy (probably around 10 minutes), flipping the arayes from time to time. I suggest letting them ‘rest’ about 5 minutes before eating, as they are really hot!
Serve with a simple, spicy tomato salad with loads of lemon juice and herbs, and of course some tahini, and if you have it, amba and schoug.
Prawns in prosecco, chili, butter, and herbs recipe
To me, this is the easiest, fastest, and yummiest way to cook and eat prawns. I’ve even put this dish on the menu of The Duchess in Amsterdam, a 1 Michelin star restaurant which I was Head Chef of from 2015-2015.
There’s something cool about using sparkling wine, but the dish will work with any decent quality dry white wine as well. The classy, rich version is of course with butter, but I did it few times without and it also tasted very good.
Buying frozen: I’d always go for uncleaned ones (with head and shell). Defrost under running water (about 15-20 minutes), and then peel/clean them which is quite easy; first take the head off (just twisting it), then go through the ‘back’ with scissors, then peel off the shell, leaving only the tail on. (It’s nice to grab it from the tail when eating, but can also remove everything). Frozen boxes of prawns are often sold by size, graded for numbers of units in 1 kg. I almost always go for 16-20.
Buying fresh: This depends on where you are located. To be honest, I don’t remember coming across really good quality fresh prawns in the UK. But of course, you can always ask. In Israel, you can get really amazing ones (‘crystal’), mostly in winter, and often VERY expensive.
Ingredients (for 2-3 people, depending if it’s a starter or main):
- 1 kg tiger prawns (16-20 units) – cleaned as explained above
- 1 red chili pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
- 5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 spoons finely chopped parsley
- About ¼ cup prosecco, or any other dry white wine (sparkling or not)
- 1 lemon
- 2-3 spoons olive oil
- 50 gr butter, cut into small cubes
In a wide frying pan, heat (on medium) olive oil, and when the pan is fairly hot put the prawns in, and season with salt+ pepper. Gently fry them until they start to turn pink/white, flipping them so they cook from both sides. This happens quickly.
Add in garlic and chili, and sautee for 1-2 minutes, just until your prawns are all covered with the garlic and chili and everything is sizzling and fragrant. Turn the heat up (just be careful not to burn the garlic – it will ruin the flavor!), and then add your wine/prosecco.
Let the liquids evaporate to about half, then start adding butter, a couple of cubes each time, until they melt into the juices and thicken the sauce. Add in the parsley and stir. You can lower the heat now and as soon as sauce consistency is right, you’re done. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice, taste your sauce, and fix seasoning if needed.
Serve with crusty sourdough.
Oven-baked fish and veggies in one tray recipe
This is actually a generic concept rather than a recipe. The idea is to roast fish (either whole or fillets), with an assortment of veggies all in the same tray.
The keys to success are timing and seasoning (and of course quality of ingredients, but that goes without saying, I hope!) This means choosing the vegetables which will cook nicely around the same time as the fish, and of course season everything properly with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon, chili pepper, and fresh herbs – these are the best flavors for fish!
180-200 degrees is a good temp for this sort of roasting.
If baking a whole fish (like bream, bass, red snapper) – let’s say around 1 kg size – consider about 20-25 minutes. Make sure to season the fish inside and out, score 2-3 diagonal cuts from each side, and of course, stuff the belly with a few slices of lemon, a couple of smashed garlic cloves. and some fragrant herbs!
If baking fillets (which shouldn’t take more than 8-10 minutes), I’d suggest roasting your veggies alone for about 10-15 minutes, then adding fillets and complete the baking. In that case, I sometimes like to just sear the skin side fillets on a pan before baking with the veggies (skin side up).
Suggested vegetables (all cut into chunky, bite-sized pieces and nicely seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper):
- Tomatoes (any kind)
- Alliums (onions and garlic of any sort; Leeks, shallots, etc.)
- Cauliflower and broccoli (tender stem and purple sprout included)
- Peppers (Chili peppers included, of course)
- Artichoke hearts
- Romaine lettuce
Suggested (hard) herbs:
Arrange your seasoned veggies in a tray. Mix in some of the herbs you choose.
If cooking a whole fish, simply put it in the middle, and into the preheated oven. Cooking time varies according to the fish size, of course, but as mentioned above, a standard size bass/bream (around 1 kg) should take no longer than 20-25 minutes. Switch your oven into upper grilling mode in the last 5 minutes or so might be a good idea and give your fish a nice crust.
Check your tray from time to time, flip the veggies a bit if needed. To check if the fish is ready, using a knife, expose a bit of flesh in the thicker area close to the fish head; if it’s all white and separates from the bone easily, your fish is ready. Bear in mind that undercooked fish can be very upsetting!
If cooking fillets, give your veggies a good 10-15 minutes of baking until they start to sizzle and color. Now add your fillets with the skin facing upwards. Again, I like giving them a sear in a pan, only on the skin before, to ensure the skin will end up flat and crisp. The rest of the process is similar.
In both cases, if you feel that your tray needs a bit more juices, you can always splash in some dry white wine, squeeze some tomatoes over, and if you want, even a few cubes of butter towards the end.
Serve with wedges of lemon.
Coconut malabi recipe (6-7 servings)
- 1 can coconut milk (400ml)
- 400ml water
- 85 sugar
- 45 cornflour
- 10 gr rosewater
Mix water and coconut milk. Put ¼ cup of the mix in a small bowl, add cornflour and mix well
Put the rest in a medium saucepan, add the sugar into the pan, and put over a medium-low flame, bringing almost to boil, while mixing with a whisk.
When your mix almost reaches boiling point, add in the cornflour mix and keep on whisking. Your malabi mix will thicken quickly. Turn the heat off. A good way to check if it’s ready is by dipping a wooden spoon or a spatula in the mix and passing a finger over it. If a gapped line appears, the mix is ready. If it’s still too runny, bring back to the heat and cook a bit more, whisking all the time.
Let the mix cool a bit, then add in rosewater and pour into your serving cups. Cover them and transfer them to the fridge for at least 3 hours to set and chill completely.
Well, the sky is the limit here, obviously!
To make a quick fruity ‘compote’: Simply cook down some frozen berries (or fresh of course), with about 2:3 ratio sugar (for example, 150gr fruit, 100gr sugar), for about 10-15 minutes until you get a nice and shiny consistency (like a runny jam). When done cooking, add a spoon or two of lemon juice, and if you wish, a few drops of rosewater or orange blossom water. This will work also with summer stone fruit (apricot, nectarines), persimmon, figs, grapes, or rhubarb. In winter, oranges and mandarins are good options.
Fresh fruit works lovely as well if you’re not bothered to make a compote. Any mix of fresh berries is terrific without cooking. You can add 1 tsp or 2 of sugar and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Mix all of it together in a bowl (this will create a bit of fresh syrupy juices) and then top your malabi. Use the same method for any combination of chopped fresh fruits (peaches, pineapple, etc.).
Other toppings: Toasted coconut, toasted nuts (peanuts, pistachios, almonds, basically any), fresh pomegranate seeds, dried rose petals, even broken ‘meringues’ or toasted kadaifi.