Tunisian Poached Fish

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 

The cooking of Tunisia combines elements of Mediterranean cuisine with French and African influences. Chef Pawlcyn infuses halibut—a mild fish—with coriander, cumin, garlic, tomato and a little hot pepper to zip up the flavor. Preserved lemons, olives and capers play up the Tunisian character of the recipe.


1 3/4 lb. fresh halibut steak
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 small hot pepper
4 to 6 baby red onions
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 med. red onion, grated
2 med. tomatoes, halved, seeded and grated
1 head garlic, separated into cloves
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. ground coriander seeds
1 cup brine-cured olives, rinsed and drained
Flour for dusting
4 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
Peel from 1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed, drained, and cut into thin julienne
1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted walnuts
1 tbsp. chopped celery leaves


  1. Rinse fish, pat dry with paper towels, and divide into 6 equal pieces. Season each piece with salt, pepper and ground cumin. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hr.
  2. Steam hot pepper and baby onions until almost tender, about 10 min. Stem, seed and coarsely chop the pepper; peel onions.
  3. In deep-sided med. skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add grated red onion; cook over med. heat, stirring 3 to 4 min. until softened. Add tomatoes; cook until excess moisture evaporates, about 7 min.
  4. Add garlic, tomato paste, ground coriander, olives, steamed chopped hot pepper, baby onions and 1 cup water. Cover and cook over med. heat 10 min. The sauce should be thin, light and very hot.
  5. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over med.-high heat. Dust seasoned fish with flour and place skin-side down in hot oil. Fry 2 min. or until skin is crispy. Turn each piece of fish; fry 1 min, longer.
  6. Pour hot sauce over fish. Add cherry tomatoes, capers and preserved lemon peel; simmer over low heat 1min. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 15 min. before serving. The fish will finish cooking in the receding heat.
  7. To serve, garnish with walnuts and chopped celery leaves.
Source: California Walnuts

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo aims to reduce carbon emissions by 34% at its foodservice and facilities management sites by 2025, a goal it says it will reach through such changes as converting cooking oil into biodiesel fuel and using energy-efficient HVAC systems.

In announcing this endeavor toward sustainability, Sodexo—which manages more than 32,000 sites globally—noted that over 7,200 of its sites in North America recycle aluminum and paper, and 8,640 recycle cardboard.

Managing Your Business
alumni worker

It’s a sure sign that a school is doing something right when its students want to come back and work as adults. From the standpoint of the foodservice director, though, there is plenty to gain from retaining homegrown talent—call it the ultimate return on investment. In the wake of back-to-school season, two dining programs with a robust alumni contingent share their thoughts on hiring former customers.

Local expertise

At Georgia Southern University, about one-third of Eagle Dining Services’ 107 full-time employees are alumni. “They way we do things on our campus may be very...

Managing Your Business
business ladder climbing illustration

Recruiting talent is only half the battle for Mike Folino, associate director of nutrition services at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. Once he’s attracted good employees, providing clear opportunities for advancement can help retain them—but knowing when to bring up the topic in conversation can be tricky.

Prior to hiring

Folino likes to touch on advancement during the initial interview process, but the extent to which he does so changes case by case. “I have had interviews where we knew right away that we needed to discuss our structure and...

Ideas and Innovation
woman surprise

When I joined the staff at FoodService Director in the spring of 2015, I couldn’t believe how much there was to learn about the intricacies of the industry. My past experience, from kindergarten to my college days to on-the-job meals, would lead me to believe that noncommercial dining was a kind of automated process—an amenity that’s expected, and one you only become aware of if something goes wrong.

But as with my own household chores, there are no magical elves making sure the business of feeding students, seniors and hospital patients is done, and done well. Foodservice...

FSD Resources