Pan-Fried Bream With Harissa And Rose

Pan-fried Gilt-head Bream with Harissa and Rose

Serves 2-4

North Africa meets the Middle East in this aromatic dish that works equally well with sea bream or bass. Yotam Ottolenghi on whose recipe this is based, suggests plain rice or cous cous, and, sautéed spinach or chard, to be the perfect accompaniments. 


  • 2 gilt-head fillets
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) harissa paste
  • 5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
  • Plain flour for dusting
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 100ml (3½ fl oz) red wine vinegar
  • 5ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 200ml (7 fl oz) water
  • 20ml (1½ tbsp) honey
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) rosewater (many supermarkets or Amazon)
  • 60g (4oz) currants
  • 1 small handful coriander roughly chopped
  • 30ml (2 tsp) small dried edible rose petals (Waitrose or Amazon)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Taking a small bowl, mix together half the harissa paste, the cumin and a pinch of salt. Rub this mixture all over the fish fillets, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.
  2. Dust the fish with a little flour, shaking off any excess. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the fillets over a medium-high heat for 2 minutes on each side, remove from the pan on to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining harissa, vinegar, cinnamon and seasoning. Pour in the water and reduce the heat. Leave to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  4. Add the honey, rosewater and currants to the pan. Continue simmering for 2 further minutes. Return the fish to the pan spooning the sauce over the fillets to warm them through. Add a little more water if the sauce thickens too much.
  5. To serve: Serve warm, or at room temperature, sprinkled with the coriander and dried rose petals. 
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