Fish with pistachio & cauliflower sauce & kindzmari

11:20 am on 4 December 2017
Fish with pistachio & cauliflower sauce& kindzmari.

Fish with pistachio & cauliflower sauce& kindzmari. Photo: Supplied


Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 hake fillets

pistachio & cauliflower sauce

1/2 small cauliflower, divided into florets

2 shallots, peeled and halved

25g (1oz) unsalted butter

200ml (7fl oz) warm chicken, fish or

vegetable stock

small pinch of saffron threads

70g (21/2oz) pistachios or walnuts, toasted

sea salt flakes and freshly ground

black pepper



25g (1oz) bunch of coriander, stalks and all,

roughly chopped

2 green chillies, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup or clear honey

sea salt flakes, to taste

to serve (if you want to be fancy)

floured and shallow-fried shallot rings (or

toasted flaked almonds or crispy seaweed)

herbs or micro leaves

pomegranate seeds


To make the pistachio & cauliflower sauce, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4.

Pop the cauliflower florets and halved shallots on to a baking tray, dot around the butter and

pour over half the chicken stock. Season well with salt. Crush the saffron with a little sea salt

using a pestle and mortar and add that as well.

Roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes until the liquid has gone and they look soft and

caramelized. If the cauliflower catches a little bit at the edges, it’s not a problem, and the

same applies to the shallots – you need them to have colour for the sauce to be flavoursome.

Grind the pistachios in a powerful food processor (or use an electric spice or coffee grinder)

into a powder. Then blitz the shallots and cauliflower with the ground nuts in a blender or

food processor until the mixture is super smooth, adding some more of the warm stock if the

mixture needs help to blend. It should be the consistency of double cream, but if your blender

or processor is not strong enough to produce a completely smooth sauce, don’t worry – it will

still taste good. Taste and season some more if you feel that it’s still under-seasoned.

To make the kindzmari sauce, blitz all the ingredients in (again!) a powerful blender or food

processor. The resulting mixture should be quite liquid but smooth, without any bits of

stalk, and the flavour should be primarily sour but also spicy and a tiny bit sweet. You can

drop the maple syrup or honey for a more authentically tart version, but I like the hint of

sweetness here. The sauce may turn a dark, muddy green, but who cares as long as it’s delicious!

To cook the hake, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan with an ovenproof handle. Season the fish skin with salt and

pop it down into the hot oil. After a minute, shake the pan gently so that the skin doesn’t

get stuck. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip the fish over and transfer the pan to the oven for a

further 5–7 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fillet) to finish cooking it.

To serve the fancy way, put some slightly warmed cauliflower sauce on a plate, dot around

a spoonful of kindzmari and then add the hot fish skin side up. Scatter over the shallots or

almonds, seaweed, herbs or pomegranate seed garnish, if using.



I’ve used pistachios here because I love them, although walnuts would be more traditional,

but I don’t see a problem with using any nut you fancy and I struggle to find good walnuts in

the UK – just use the best you can get hold of. Quality is what’s important here.

A piece of expertly cooked pork fillet would not be out of place here instead of the fish. I have

also made this using scallops, or if you want to go vegetarian, fry a cauliflower steak in some

butter and a little oil until caramelized.