Moroccan baked fish with pickled lemon / Jason Lowe

Our chef's four simple and sumptuous recipes are perfect for sharing

Easter is about sharing and that doesn't mean just chocolate. Many countries celebrate Easter with all sorts of religious feasts where the whole family or even village get together. We don't seem to go in for that here, which I think is a shame. So here are some sharing dishes, just in case you want to throw a dinner party or have all the family over.

Moroccan baked fish with pickled lemon

Serves 4-6

I love serving a whole baked fish for dinner parties – some people get a bit weird about the bones, but it's the price you pay.

You can use pretty much any fish you want – bass, sea bream, a big chunk of cod or even a flatfish such as brill or turbot. The main thing is, be sure to cook it on the bone as this keeps it moist.

Serve it with a salad, steamed cous cous, or even throw some cooked and halved new potatoes in the roasting tray with the fish when it's cooking.

1 whole fish, weighing about 1.5-2kg
2-3 pickled lemons, halved

For the spice mixture

2tbsp olive oil, plus more for basting
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tbsp ground cumin
1tbsp freshly grated ginger
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground chilli or paprika
A handful of coriander leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a pan and gently cook the onion, garlic, cumin, ginger, ground coriander and paprika for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the fresh coriander and blend in a food processor as finely as you can. Adding a little water may help. Season generously.

Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6. Make several incisions in the fish on both sides, place in a roasting tray and rub the marinade into both sides. Stuff the lemons into the cavity and bake for about 30 minutes, spooning over more oil and any marinade from the tray.

Milk-fed baby lamb with artichokes

Serves 3-4

I was recently sent some milk-fed baby lamb's legs and shoulders from Brindisa (brindisa.com). They are from Zamora in Castile and León and are a real celebratory meal in Spain.

Alas, British producers don't specialise in small lambs as there isn't the > market for them. If you can get hold of them, great – if you can't, then a piece of meat from a small leg or shoulder of spring lamb will work nicely.

There are some baby artichokes appearing on the markets now which are delicious with the lamb, or if you can't find baby, you could use Jerusalem artichokes or shallots, or even a mixture of root vegetables. I served this with some wild garlic leaves simply blended with some olive oil, or you could use a salsa verde.

1 leg or shoulder of baby lamb, weighing about 1-1.5kg
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
A few sprigs of rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-5tbsp olive oil
8-10 baby globe artichokes

5811763.jpg
Milk-fed baby lamb with artichokes (Jason Lowe)

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Make incisions with the point of a knife in the lamb and insert the half garlic cloves and a piece of rosemary in each. Heat a roasting tray on the stove top, season the lamb and colour quickly on both sides on a high heat.

Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then add the artichokes and spoon over some more olive oil. Continue roasting for another 45 minutes to an hour, turning the artichokes as the lamb is cooking but ensuring the lamb stays nice and pink.

Serve in the middle of the table and let your guests help themselves.

Roasted pineapple

Serves 4

A cooked pineapple takes on a completely different flavour, and adding Caribbean spices makes it even better.

1 large pineapple, top removed and peeled
2tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp grated nutmeg
1tbsp freshly ground black pepper
4tbsp demerara sugar
80g unsalted butter, softened
100ml rum

5811765.jpg
A cooked pineapple takes on a completely different flavour (Jason Lowe)

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Mix the spices with the butter and a tablespoon of the rum. Score the pineapple diagonally all over about ½cm deep. Line a roasting tray with double foil and place the pineapple on top.

Rub about a third of the butter mixture over the pineapple and bake for an hour, rubbing more butter mixture on and spooning over more rum while it is cooking. Turn the pineapple regularly and baste every so often with the juices.

Serve the pineapple standing up and carve slices vertically for your guests. Serve with thick cream or ice-cream.

Baked cauliflower

Serves 4

I cooked this dish for some friends in the Cotswolds between Christmas and New Year and it went down a treat. You can vary the spice mix if you wish – theme it on Moroccan, Indian or Italian herbs and spices.

2tbsp olive oil
60g butter
1 large head of cauliflower with the leaves on
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp dried chilli flakes
½tsp ground fenugreek
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

5811766.jpg
You can vary the spice mix for Mark's baked cauliflower (Jason Lowe)

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan and gently cook the spices for a minute on a very low heat. Take a piece of double-folded foil, large enough to wrap the cauliflower in. Trim any discoloured bits from the cauliflower leaves and place the cauliflower on the foil, root side down.

Cut a criss-cross in the top of the cauliflower and spoon over the spice mixture. Wrap in the foil and bake for about an hour, or until the cauliflower is tender.

Unwrap the foil and cut the cauliflower into four and serve either in or out of the foil.

Comments