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Roasted Halibut with Tahini Sauce

Photo: Annabelle Breakey
Total time 40 mins

Serves 4

This fish gets its Middle Eastern tang from zaatar, a spice blend that's having a big moment, and its sesame-rich sauce. A fine side dish: oven-roasted diced potatoes (start them before the fish) tossed with parsley and olive oil. Couscous would be good too.


  • 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons zaatar*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (1 in. thick) halibut fillets (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame-seed paste)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed

Nutrition Information

  • calories 293
  • caloriesfromfat 44 %
  • protein 38 g
  • fat 14 g
  • satfat 2.5 g
  • carbohydrate 5.9 g
  • fiber 1.7 g
  • sodium 904 mg
  • cholesterol 122 mg

How to Make It

  1. Set rack in top third of oven and preheat to 450°. Zest half of 1 lemon into a small bowl. Add zaatar, cumin, chile flakes, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and the oil; mix. Coat one side of fillets with paste.

  2. Arrange halibut, paste side up, on a baking sheet and set on upper rack. Roast until fish is just cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes.

  3. Put tahini, garlic, 2 tbsp. water, juice of 1/2 lemon, and remaining 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a blender and whirl until smooth and pourable. Add more lemon juice to taste, and more water if you'd prefer a thinner sauce. Cut remaining lemon into wedges.

  4. Serve fish with tahini sauce and lemon wedges.

  5. *Find zaatar, a Middle Eastern spice blend of sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, and oregano, in your grocery store's spice aisle.

  6. Wine pairing: A silky red like Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs 2012 Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley; $35); aromatic spices echo zaatar. --Sara Schneider