Mmmmm… Brain Food

I’ve been trying to increase my fish consumption: omega-3, high protein, brain food, delicious – what’s not to love about that? Dave’s allergic, so we never eat our fin-friends together. But I pack my lunch every day. Bingo!
I’ve been kind of lazy about it… eating salmon burgers or shrimp sauteed with vegetables and then drizzling with either tahini sauce or olive oil + lemon juice + herbs. But this weekend, I made myself a stash of Middle Eastern Baked Fish with Nut and Sesame Crust. It’s ridiculously yummy: creamy, nutty, and rich. It tastes very indulgent but it’s super power food. Love that!

Middle Eastern Baked Fish with Nut and Sesame Crust

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 3 oz. unsalted roasted almonds, chopped

  • 6 tablespoons tahini

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 24 oz. white fish: cod, snapper, sea bass, or flounder

  • fresh, chopped parsley, for garnish


Put the garlic and nuts in a food processor and mince finely. Add the tahini and lemon juice and purée. Add enough water to make a spreadable paste and process until smooth. (I think I used about 1/2 cup water, adding it 1/8 cup at a time. The texture was like thick cake frosting.)


Preheat the oven to 450F. Bring the fish to room temperature.


Spray a baking dish with cooking spray, or coat with olive oil. Place the fish in the dish in a single layer and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Spread the tahini mixture over the fish. Bake for 10-15 minutes.


Before serving, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fillet and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Sauteed zucchini is a really nice go-along. Bonus taste points if you throw some fresh minced garlic and lemon juice on the zucchini.

Full disclosure:  The recipe was a little bit of a pain to make; it was kind of awkward spreading the tahini sauce onto the fish. And it doesn’t look really pretty… although with more practice, I think I could make it look tastier. I was worried about overcooking, so I didn’t allow the sauce to brown very much in the oven. There are a few tasty-looking dark brown spots, so I think either a few more minutes in the oven or a quick bout under the broiler might make it look beter. BUT…all concerns about appearance disappeared when I took the first bite. I’ve been eating it this week for lunch, and it’s a delicious, indulgent, good-for-me treat. I rate it: YUM-EEE.

[Cute fish graphic by Leif Parsons pilfered from The New York Times.]

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  • Melanie says:

    I randomly got some cod tonight and thought of this recipe.. didn't have enough time, nor almonds, nor desire after my ludicrous drive home through Montreal traffic.. but then I remembered I had made a batch of Tahini Sauce the other day (which I had added a lot more tahini to, and some toasted sesame oil), so I decided to take a chance and slather some on top of the cod (which I first dowsed with lemon) and.. it was pretty rad for a quick dinner fix.. will definitely try it again for real with the almonds next time 🙂

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Melanie –> You just inspired me to make a batch of tahini sauce… it's been a while. If you make this recipe, let me know how you like it. It was tricky to make, but I forgave everything when I tasted it.

  • Lisa says:

    I recently found your website as I’m just getting into the Paleo thing and I have spent hours reading! I just made this fish for dinner (with haddock) and it was delicious! I actually didn’t find it that picky to make, either, definitely worth the effort. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  • michele b. says: