Chermoula baked sea bass with quinoa recipe

Line-caught sea bass in chermoula, a North African marinade, accompanies a spicy, nutty salad. A Mediterranean treat from Anna Hansen at The Modern Pantry for Taste of London


  • 1.2kg line-caught sea bass, cut into 6 portions
  • 50g mustard leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil

For the chermoula

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh turmeric, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ bunch chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp Maldon salt
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil

For the spiced, toasted seeds

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh curry leaves
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp kalonji seeds (black onion seeds)
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 200g sunflower seeds
  • 200g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp amchur (dried, powdered green mangoes)
  • 1 rounded tsp Maldon sea salt

For the quinoa, tomatillo and preserved lemon salad

  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 1 large red onion sliced
  • 50ml sherry vinegar
  • ¼ tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 400g cooked quinoa
  • 3 medium tomatillo, diced
  • 1 tbsp preserved lemon, finely diced
  • 1 handful chopped coriander plus some leaves
  • 1 small handful chopped mint
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 limes, cut in to wedges

For the tahini cream

  • ½ cup of tahini
  • Juice of 1½ lemons
  • ½ cup of water
  • Salt


How to make chermoula baked sea bass with quinoa, tomatillo and preserved lemon salad

1. For the chermoula, mix all ingredients together. Half an hour before you plan to eat, marinate the fish in the mixture.

2. For the spiced, toasted seeds, heat the oil over moderate heat in a heavy bottomed frying pan. Add the curry leaves and fry until aromatic then add the fennel, poppy, kalonji and mustard seeds.

3. Reduce the heat a little and continue to fry, shaking the pan until they begin to pop then add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Keep shaking and tossing the seeds in the pan regularly to ensure even toasting. When they are golden remove from the heat and add the salt and amchur.

4. For the quinoa, tomatillo and preserved lemon salad, caramelise the onion in the oil then add the smoked paprika and sherry vinegar and continue to cook until it has evaporated. Toss together the remaining ingredients (except for the lime wedges) along with a couple of handfuls of the spiced seeds to make the salad.

5. For the tahini cream, add all ingredients together, whisk and season to taste.

6. For the sea bass, heat some oil in a pan and add the fish, skin side down. Cook for a minute or so to allow the skin to caramelise then transfer to a hot oven. Bake until just cooked through.

7. Spoon some quinoa salad onto a plate and scatter a few mustard leaves around. Place the sea bass skin side up on top of this then a sprinkling of the toasted seeds. Finally squeeze over a wedge of lime, garnish with some mustard leaves and a dash of extra virgin olive oil.

Taste of London

Recipe © courtesy of Anna Hansen at The Modern Pantry, London

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