Fish with Pistachio, Fresh Herb and Barberry Stuffing By Najmieh Batmanglij

4 servings.

1 large whole fish (striped bass or rockfish), between 4–5 pounds, scaled, butterflied, and skin scored; or 2 thick fillets of fish, about 3 pounds
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 cup oil, butter, or ghee*
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
4 spring onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or 2 tablespoons dried mint
1 cup coarsely ground raw pistachio kernels
1/2 cup dried barberries,* cleaned, soaked for 10 minutes in cold water, drained, and rinsed, or use ½ cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden, or green, raisins
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground
black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron dis­solved in 2 tablespoons hot water (optional)

2 bitter oranges (Seville) or limes


Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a rimmed baking sheet, or dish, with a layer of aluminum foil and a layer of parchment paper (overhang the baking sheet for lifting if necessary). Generously oil the parchment paper. Rinse fish in cold water and pat dry with a towel. Lay the fish on the lined baking sheet. Paint it all over, inside and out, with oil and lime juice. Then rub, inside and out, with the dusting mixture. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a wide skillet over medium heat and sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add the parsley, tarragon, spring onions, cilantro, mint, pistachio kernels, barberries, raisins, lime juice, salt, and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Stuff the fish with the filling and sew or pin cavity shut. Drizzle the remaining oil and saffron water over the fish. (You may prepare the stuffing the day before.)
Place in the in the preheated oven and bake, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes (depending on the size of the fish) until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from the oven and remove the skin from the fish. Lift the fish and place it on a serving platter. Baste with the pan juices and squeeze the juice of the bitter oranges over the fish. Serve with saffron-steamed plain rice.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!