Samke Harra or spicy fish, is a Lebanese seafood dish traditionally made with white fleshed fish. We like to prepare it with Salmon but every once in awhile we go full traditional. Originating in the coastal towns of Sarafand and Khayzaran as well as the rocky shores of Jbail (Byblos) . This dish is excellent for family gatherings or special events. We like to serve it with a side of rice and Batata Harra (spicy potatoes).
Prep Time: 20 minutes
cook time: 25- 30 min full size fillet, 40 min whole fish
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 small green pepper
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- salt to taste
to drizzle and garnish
- 1 lemon sliced
- one medium tomato sliced
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 bunch minced cilantro
- For the sauce chop all ingredients and place in a sauce pan on medium heat; bring to a simmer and stir periodically until it thickens.
Preparing full size Salmon fillet
- Place fish fillet skin down on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with juiced lemon half; cover with sauce and layer sliced lemon over top.
- Cover with foil.
- Bake in preheated oven at 400 F for 25 to 30 minutes on medium rack; or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Preparing whole fish (1-1.5 kg)
- Place cleaned salmon on rimmed baking sheet.
- Dip lemon half in salt and rub and squeeze over the outside and inside of fish.
- score top of fish about 4 times on a diagonal.
- Split sauce in half; spread half inside the fish and half over the top.
- Layer sliced lemons over top.
- cover fish with foil.
- Bake at 400 F up to 40 min for whole fish; Minimum internal temperature of 145°F or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
- Garnish with minced cilantro and fresh lemon wedges.
- Sauce can be made in advance, portioned and frozen.
- Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
To make smaller portions you can try pan-searing!
Directions for pan-searing salmon fillet
- Sauce can be made same as above or chopped on pulse in blender.
- Heat pan to medium heat, add 1-2 tbsp olive oil. Place fillet skin down, cover for 6 mins or until it is light pink/white to indicate it has cooked through.
- Turn heat to medium high, flip the fillet to brown the top (1-2 min). At this point you can remove the skin if you don’t like it.
- Flip fillet back over, squeeze some lemon juice over, add desired amount of sauce, lemon slices and cover to cook for 1 min.
- Plate & Serve!