Mahi Sefeed (White Fish)
The traditional New Year (Norooz) and Spring celebration for Iranians includes a platter of Sabzi polow (Herbed rice pilaf) with mahi (fish). Back in the old days of Iran, and before the invention of refrigerators, seafood from the the Caspian sea or the Persian Gulf was considered a delicacy to most, and enjoyed on special occasions, like the New Year.
The fish is usually smoked white fish and pan fried, but we get enough fried food eating out. So the health-conscious in me opted to try the bake method, which not only is easier, but infuses more festive flavors and cheerful colors of citrus fruits.
Ingredients (Serves 4-5):
- smoke white fish (~ 3 lbs), wash and pat dry
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 orange
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- fresh dill* optional, but recommended if not planning to serve with sabzi polow (herbed rice)
- salt & pepper
Time ~ 45 minutes
- Thin slice orange, lemon and lime.
- If you have whole fish you can either leave the head on or cut it off. If you have fish fillets make longitudinal sections in the meat.
- Season inside the fish cavity or slits with salt and pepper and stuff in as many orange, lemon and lime slices as you can. Fill any hollows with minced garlic and fresh dill (if using).
- If using whole fish, score every two to three inches for even cooking.
- Place in a roasting pan or even baking dish. You may choose to grease it before hand but it is not necessary.
- If desired rub oil/butter, all over the fish. Arrange remaining slices of orange, lemon or lime on top.
- Place in the oven and cook @ 375° Fahrenheit ’til fish is completely cooked. Cooking times varies depending on the thickness of the fish. Mine was 1.5 lbs and cooked in 30 minutes.
Serve immediately over herbed rice , along with more slices of lemon, lime or orange to squeeze over.
The juice left in the baking dish has all the citrus flavors, and makes the perfect sauce.
Btw,if you are curious about the last picture, that’s my parsley laid out to dry. Stores sprinkle too much water on herbs, which does nothing but spoil them sooner. To the right, is my teacup, since I like to sip on tea while I cook.