Spicy Marinated Fish with Pineapple Salsa

This week has been a bit like the old days, when deadlines for articles, scripts, photographs, even books seemed to loom constantly over us. The immediate urgency – apart from getting the book (How to Cheat at Cooking) written – is to produce what publishers call a ‘blad’. Really it is a set of sample pages with recipes and photographs, to get booksellers enthused about the project. If you can get them excited, that’s half the battle. So it has been a week of scurrying between supermarkets, farm shops and delis in search of inspiration, punctuated by long sessions in the kitchen exploring the potential of various ingredients. This week, amongst others, it has been preserved lemons and jalapeno chillis – and it probably won’t come as a surprise to find both of these in my most recent recipe and this week’s! As I think I’ve mentioned before ‘cheating’ is not just using products off the shelf to save you time and energy, it’s also about finding ways to prepare them more easily and efficiently. And in this context I couldn’t possibly do without my mini-chopper (see picture): it’s invaluable, and I would recommend everyone to invest in one – in fact it’s very cheap. My mini-chopper made this week’s recipe a doddle. By the way, the word marinated here is a moveable feast, depending on whether you’ve got 10 minutes or as many hours. It has to be said, though, even if you have no time at all, this is still quite outstanding considering the preparation is achieved in moments.

Serves 2

Spicy Marinated Fish with Pineapple Salsa
 2 thick skinless white fish fillets, 6-7oz (175-200g) each (Icelandic cod or haddock would be ideal)
For the marinade:
 1 small preserved lemon, quartered
 1 piece jalapeno chilli
 1 pinch of saffron
 1 clove of garlic
 ½ teaspoon paprika
 juice of ½ lemon
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 1 dessertspoon parsley
 1 dessertspoon fresh coriander
For the salsa:
 6 pieces from a pack of prepared pineapple
 1 piece of jalapeno chilli
 ½ small red onion, roughly chopped
 1 dessertspoon fresh coriander


Just pile the marinade ingredients into a mini-chopper (crumbling the saffron strands first) and whiz them to a coarse puree. Now place the fish fillets in a shallow heatproof dish, season with salt, then spread half the mixture over the surface of each fillet. Turn them over and spread the rest of the mixture on the other side. Cover the dish and leave on one side for up to 30 minutes at room temperature (or longer in a fridge). 

The salsa ingredients can now go into the same mini-chopper (no need to wash it first). Pulse till just evenly chopped, then spoon it into a serving bowl.

To cook the fish: pre-heat the grill to its highest setting for 10 minutes. Place the fish four inches (10cm) from the heat source and give it five minutes before carefully turning the fish over and grilling on the other side for another five minutes or until nicely browned. Serve the fish on a bed of rocket leaves with any escaped juiced spooned over, and the salsa to go with it. 

Great on its own or with couscous, rice or potato wedges.

Print Page