Tahini roast salmon with sugar snap gremolata

by Rosie Birkett

A light and buttery summer fish dish from Rosie Birkett’s new cookbook

Tahini—gorgeously silken ground sesame paste—is an ingredient that has found its way firmly into my pantry, thanks to chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi who have demystified its incredible versatility. Here it’s mixed with preserved lemon and used to marinade salmon, ensuring fish that is sublimely soft and buttery, with gorgeous nutty notes.


1 x 800g fillet (or half a side) super-fresh salmon

For the marinade:
1 tsp cumin seeds
15g preserved lemon rind, after flesh and pith removed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
Juice of ½ lemon
A pinch of salt
A pinch of white pepper
2 tsp honey
3 tbsp good-quality tahini at room temperature
2 tbsp warm water

For the sugar snap gremolata:
8 sugar snap peas, washed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 spring onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal with the green ends too
1 thick, thumb-sized pared strip of lemon zest, pith scraped off and zest very thinly sliced
½ lemon, for squeezing


Dry toast the cumin seeds in a frying pan until golden and fragrant. Reserve a pinch of them for the gremolata and put the rest in a food processor, along with the other marinade ingredients, except the tahini and water. Blitz to a paste, then add the tahini and water and blitz again to emulsify, adding more water if necessary—the marinade should be a little thicker than pouring cream. You can make it a few hours in advance.

Take the salmon out of the fridge 30 mins before you plan to cook it, so it’s at room temperature. Because you’re cooking it at a low temperature, this is really important. Lightly salt the flesh of the fish when you take it out of the fridge. After 30 mins, wipe away any excess moisture with kitchen paper.

Preheat the oven to 140C and grease a roasting dish with oil.

Smother the salmon with enough marinade to coat. You might not need it all. Place the fish skin-side up in the roasting dish, cover with foil and bake for 20-30 mins, until the flesh is tender and breaks apart in moist, buttery flakes, but is cooked through. The fish is ready when it reaches 50C on a thermometer.

While the fish is cooking, combine the gremolata ingredients with the reserved cumin seeds in a bowl and squeeze over a little lemon juice. Remove the fish from the oven and serve, spooning over the delicious marinade. Top with the gremolata.

Recipe: Rosie Birkett from The Joyful Home Cook (Harper Collins)
Image: Helen Cathcart