Tilapia with Roasted Red Pepper Harissa

February 15, 2009

Peppers ready for roasting

Peppers ready for roasting

A Moroccan inspired dish adapted(slightly) from Epicurious.  A traditional harissa is just made from roasted hot peppers, which would be a bit too much for this dish(and for us).  If you want to kick up the heat a bit, add a second roast jalapeno — that was about our maximum spice tolerance.  The fish can also be fried or grilled, but rubbing with olive oil allows the spices to adhere nicely with a minimum of grease.


(serves 2)


  • 2 fillets tilapia
  • a few pinches of cumin and coriander
  • olive oil
  • wedge of lemon (for serving)


  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Halve and deseed the red pepper, then rub with olive oil.  Rub the jalapeno and garlic with oil as well, then roast them all on a foil-covered cookie sheet for about 10 minutes.  Remove the garlic and flip the peppers, then roast for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, rub the tilapia with some olive oil, then lightly dust  with cumin, coriander and salt.  Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat and fry the fish until browned, about three minutes per side.   Keep warm while you assemble the harissa.

Remove the skin from the red pepper and the stem from the jalapeno, then place everything(peppers, garlic and spices) in a food processor.  Blend until the peppers are broken down, then gradually add olive oil until .   Season with salt and pepper.

Plate the fish and squeeze the lemon over each piece, then top with the harissa.  We like to serve this over some whole wheat couscous with sunflower seeds to add a bit of crunch.


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