Mahi ba Somagh (Sumac Roasted Fish)
This flavorful and bright preparation of mahi, which means fish in Persian (not to be confused with mahi-mahi), comes together quickly. In keeping with the sour-leaning Iranian palate, a generous sprinkling of tart sumac and a drizzle of fragrant orange and lime juices coat butterflied whole fish. If your sumac has been languishing in the back of the spice drawer for some time, get a new jar. Over time, sumac loses its fragrance and punchy flavor and becomes bitter and bland. The key to successfully roasting the fish is to remove excess moisture by patting them dry with paper towels. Serve with a side of rice with tahdig, plain steamed rice or oven-baked fries and a simple salad.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2large branzini or trout (about 1 1/2 pounds each), butterflied, heads and tails kept on if desired (see Tip)
- 1medium orange
- 1medium lime
- 1tablespoon sumac
- ¼teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- Fresh mint leaves, torn, for serving (optional)
Step 1Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Use paper towels to gently pat the fish dry inside and out, and place the fish on the prepared pan.
Step 2Zest 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.
Step 3Drizzle 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 kosher salt, use 3/4 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.
Step 4Roast the fish until flaky and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Garnish with the reserved orange slices, lime slices and fresh mint, and serve.