Sumac & Za’atar Roasted Monkfish

March 29, 2017
12 Ratings
Photo by Ria Osbourne
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Sumac and za’atar is such a wonderfully tangy and earthy combination. I make this all the time, especially with monkfish, as it has such a meaty texture. This dish needs something with a little freshness to break up the thickness of flavor, so I always serve it with my delicious Salatet Fattoush on the side. The reason this recipe works so well is that you have the sharpness of sumac and lemon against the smokiness and spice of paprika and chile. These flavors work really well in a number of dishes, but especially with fish.

Photography by Ria Osbourne, food by Joudie Kalla and publisher Jacqui Small from Quatro publishing. —joudie Kalla

What You'll Need
  • 4 350-gram (12-ounce) monkfish tails
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons sumac
  • 4 teaspoons za'atar
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried chile flakes
  • Salatet fattoush, to serve (see headnote for link)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C). Place the monkfish on a baking tray.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients together and season to taste—you may want to add more salt or lemon. Rub the mixture all over the monkfish so that it is evenly coated and place the squeezed lemon halves on the tray.
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or longer depending on the size of the fish, checking to make sure it doesn't overcook. When it's ready, remove and serve with Salatet Fattoush.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Emily Love
    Emily Love
  • Mike Sidman
    Mike Sidman
  • monica
  • sjbarbu

12 Reviews

monica April 11, 2021
I don't seem to be able to find the link to the Salatet Fattoush.
Emily L. June 12, 2019
I made this last night and it was great! I used halibut because that's what was available at my grocery store and cooked for about 10 minutes (I sliced in half to get a thinner cut of fish). I served with an herby salad and pita. Next time I would add a bit of salt to the rub but otherwise it was great!
sjbarbu May 24, 2018
We made this recipe last night and it was tasty and creative. We used red snapper instead of monkfish since it was more affordable. The spice rub was interesting but was a bit heavy, handed if directions followed. Would reduce amount of spice rub next time.
Melina November 5, 2017
Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I made the fish with the salad and it was perfect! The flavours reminded me of home!!
JasonF August 11, 2017

Your spicy fish recipe sounds delicious. Fish is one dish that goes well with both creamy and tangy sauces and rubs. The Za'atar provides a sharp, tangy hint of thyme, marjoram, savory and sumac. Freshly ground and pure wild thyme adds depth to any dish because of its high essential oil content. It’s hard to find high quality Za’atar without wheat or peanut fillings and other spices added. Did you know Za'atar mixes in the grocery store or supermarket aren't really pure blends? You want a mix with lots of sumac, sesame seeds and real zaatar herb (wild thyme that grows in mountains of Lebanon). After making do with less favorful blends, I finally hit gold with https// After trying their blends, you won’t use any other store-bought Za'atar.
elizabeth B. March 30, 2017
I am buying this book right away!
Having never read your blog please know that hate messages
do not represent a people. There are many American Jews who can
appreciate your food and your deep connection to your family history. Can't wait to dive in.
Elizabeth from Brooklyn
joudie K. March 30, 2017
Elizabeth, thank you for the lovely message. There are so many amazing people out there and this is how my book grew to live its life and take its first breath. I hope you love the book and cook many things from it.

J x
Mike S. March 29, 2017
Joudie I'm so happy you're on Food52! Your cookbook is my favorite of the year!
joudie K. March 29, 2017
Oh wow what a lovely first message to receive on here! Thank you so much for the love! I am so pleased you like my book. Please cook and tag me in your food journey. j x
Mike S. March 30, 2017
I was so excited I forgot to ask my actual question about this recipe! You mentioned "squeezed lemon halves." Is there supposed to be lemon juice as well as zest, or am I just misunderstanding. Thank you!
joudie K. March 30, 2017
Ha! No worries. Yes lemon juice squeezed aswell. Should be in the recipe which is its not. Will correct it now,

J x
Anu November 1, 2018
The recipe doesn't seem to have been corrected?