Smoky flathead with caper aïoli


  • Serves 4 people

  • 800 gm skinless flathead fillets, cut into 10cm pieces
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • To taste: finely grated rind of 1 lemon, plus lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 baby cos, torn
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) mint
  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 25 ml white wine vinegar, or to taste
  • To serve: coriander cress (optional)
  • Caper aïoli
  • 300 gm (1 cup) mayonnaise
  • 1 golden shallot, diced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp drained capers in vinegar, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp Sherry vinegar, or to taste
  • Finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
01   For caper aïoli, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and set aside.
02   Combine flathead in a large bowl with spices and lemon rind, season to taste and toss to coat well. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add flathead and fry, turning occasionally, until browned and just cooked through (3-4 minutes). Dress with a little lemon juice and divide among plates.
03   Toss remaining ingredients in a bowl to combine, season to taste and serve with flathead and caper aïoli.
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