30-minute meals

Sumac roasted fish: A tender, succulent dish worthy of celebration

The combination of tart sumac and fragrant citrus makes this dish bright, flavourful and one to remember, writes Naz Deravian

Tuesday 30 November 2021 12:05
<p>Ask your fishmonger to gut and scale your fish for you </p>

Ask your fishmonger to gut and scale your fish for you

This bright, flavourful preparation of mahi, which means fish in Persian, comes together quickly – and memorably, as tart sumac and fragrant orange and lime juices coat butterflied whole fish.

To make things easy, ask your fishmonger to gut and scale the fish for you. And be sure to remove any excess moisture from the fish.

Patting them dry with paper towels is the key to a tender, succulent dish worthy of celebration, especially when served with tahdig, steamed rice or a simple salad.

Mahi ba somagh (sumac roasted fish)

Serves: 4

Total time: 15 minutes


2 large branzini or trout (about 680g each), butterflied, heads and tails kept on if desired (see tip)

1 medium orange

1 medium lime

1 tbsp sumac

¼ tsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

Fresh mint leaves, torn, for serving (optional)


1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 230C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Use paper towels to gently pat the fish dry inside and out, and place the fish on the prepared pan.

2. Zest half of the orange directly into a small bowl, then squeeze in the juice from that half (about 3 tablespoons) and the juice from half of the lime (just under 1 tablespoon). Slice the remaining orange and lime halves and set aside for serving. In another small bowl, combine the sumac and turmeric.

3. Drizzle the fish with the olive oil inside and out. Open the fish up like books and evenly sprinkle with the pepper and salt (if using fine salt or coarse salt, use ¾ teaspoon). Arrange the open fish in a single layer, angling and overlapping slightly if needed to fit. Drizzle on the citrus mixture and then dust with the sumac mixture to cover most of the flesh.

4. Roast the fish until flaky and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Garnish with the reserved orange slices, lime slices and fresh mint, and serve.

Tip: Ask the fishmonger at the seafood counter to gut, scale and butterfly the fish for you.

© The New York Times

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