Tamarind is a fruit both sweet and sour in taste, which is used in a variety of ways in Caribbean cooking. Here, it adds a delicious tang to this fish dish – the aroma when you open the bag is really lovely. It also works great with snapper or salmon fillets. As you’ve got the oven on, why not make some simple sweet potato wedges to accompany the fish… just toss the wedges in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and pop onto a roasting tray to roast for 20 minutes.
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 long green chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
- Small handful of coriander stalks, washed and chopped (leaves reserved for garnish)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 x 350g fresh whole rainbow trout, gutted and cleaned
- 4cm piece of fresh root ginger, cut into fine strips
- 3 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red chilli, sliced, to garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
In a pestle and mortar, pound together the garlic, chillies, coriander stalks and salt to a smooth paste. Add the tamarind paste, sugar and lime juice and mix well.
Score both sides of the trout with three deep cuts down to the bone. Smear the paste inside the trout cavity and all over the outside so that it is well coated.
Lay out two 30cm square sheets of heavy-duty foil on the work surface and place a sheet of baking parchment on top of each. Divide the ginger strips and spring onions between each piece of parchment, piling them in the middle, and lay the marinated fish on top.
Drizzle with olive oil and fold the foil and parchment loosely around the fish to enclose them in bag-shaped parcels (not too tight – you need a little air to be able to circulate). Firmly crimp the edges of the foil parcels to seal them well and place on a baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes or until cooked through. Check at 15 minutes, carefully opening the bag (be careful of the steam). The fish is cooked if it is opaque all the way through and easily flakes away from the bone when tested with a knife. If not, return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately, garnished with the fresh coriander leaves and a sprinkling of sliced chilli (if using).
Extracted from Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen by Ainsley Harriott (Ebury Press, £26). Photography by Dan Jones