Saturday , 20 January 2018

Ras El Hanout Fish Sticks with Harissa Tartar Sauce and Baked Green Tomatoes


I must have a thing about making food look like faces when I’m plating.  I actually decided against one of the photos I took because it once again looked like a happy face.  Maybe I just want my food to feel grateful to me for eating it?  Weird.

And just for fun – here’s the one that looks at you:

Anyway, I participate in this fun blog carnival where every month she picks out a new country/region and we all cook a recipe from there.  I am so on board for this because I love experimenting with new cuisines, spices, ingredients, etc.

So this month was the Middle East. My previous post, Middle Eastern (Baharat Marinated) Lamb Skewers was one result of the new challenge and last night’s fish meal was another.

When I was researching some of the different spices I noticed that ras el hanout, which mean best of the best, or best of the shop, often came up as being used in dishes.  It’s basically a blend of the “best” spices and there’s a variety of different versions out there.  I went to Colonel De at Findley Market and just bought it from there so I could actually try it and understand its characteristics.

My thoughts – it’s a very sort of ‘warming’ spice mix and reminds me of garam masala or five spice although with a different flavor profile.  But it definitely gives that sort of savory feeling with the lightest note of sweet (probably from the cinnamon and others like lavender).

Towards the bottom of the post is a bonus recipe for baked green tomatoes.  Why did I choose to serve this meal with that as a side?  Because I needed to use up the ones I got in my CSA of course! And oh my gosh, I’ve never had them before and I am now officially obsessed.  My husband and I have pretty much decided that we can never try them actually fried because a new addiction could easily be born.  And bonus! They tasted amazing after being dipped in the harissa tartar sauce.

A note on the harissa – you can either buy or make it.  Here’s a few resources:

  • Go to your local Mediterranean or Middle Eastern store
  • Buy it online from Amazon
  • Homemade Version 1
  • Homemade Version 2 

Ras El Hanout Fish Sticks with Harissa Tartar Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

Serving Size: 4 fish sticks

Ras El Hanout Fish Sticks with Harissa Tartar Sauce


    For the Fish
  • ½ lb tilapia or cod, cut into big chunks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ tsp ras el hanout
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • ½ cup whole wheat panko (to bread ‘sticks’ with)
  • 1 ½ tsp canola oil
  • For the Harissa Tartar
  • 3 Tbsp nonfat greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp light mayo
  • 1 Tbsp harissa paste – see note above recipe (feel free to use more if you want it spicier)
  • 1 tsp sweet pickle relish
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


    Making the Harissa Tartar Sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Taste, adjust any seasonings and then set aside in fridge until fish is done and you’re ready to serve it.
  2. Making the Ras El Hanout Fish Sticks
  3. Combine fish through salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse a few times until mixture is all combined. If you wanted to have actual chunks of fish in your sticks you could easily just mince the fish finely and then mix it together.
  4. In a separate shallow plate, place ½ cup whole wheat panko. Form fish mixture into 8 rectangular “sticks” and then roll in the panko.
  5. Heat 1 ½ tsp of oil over medium to medium high heat. Cook each fish stick about 2 to 3 minutes per side on all four sides until lightly browned and cook through. A trick to make sure your fish gets all the way done is to keep the pan covered for at least the first two sides of cooking and then remove the lid for the last two sides of cooking to really crisp it up.
  6. Serve immediately with harissa tartar sauce on the side.

Baked - Not Fried Green Tomatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 2 - 3 depending on size of tomatoes

Baked - Not Fried Green Tomatoes


  • 3 small green tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp corn meal
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Optional: 1 tsp ras el hanout or whatever seasonings you like. Be creative – you could go Cajun, Mexican, etc.
  • Non-Stick Spray


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of tomato with salt (go easy on the salt), pepper. Sprinkle one side with lightly with sugar. Sprinkle other side with any other additional seasonings you may wish to use.
  3. In one small bowl have lightly beaten egg. In a large shallow bowl combine flour and corn meal.
  4. Dip tomato slices in egg, then dredge in corn meal mixture. Once they’ve all been coated spray the top of the slices with non-stick spray.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes, remove from oven and flip each slice. Spray that side with non-stick spray and place back in oven. Cook for another 10 minutes or until coating is crisp. Serve immediately (and if you happen to have some harissa tartar sauce, it tastes amazing with them).

Ok, ok so it’s not the most nutritionally balanced meal out there but I’ve covered my fruit, lean protein, whole grain, dairy and healthy fat so there!  The only thing really missing was a veggie and that could have been easily remedied by a side salad.  I didn’t go the side salad option because it was alot of food and figured we could also snack on some carrots or celery later.

Total success!  My husband ate all four of his and one of mine (I was way too full to finish my plate) which is kind of a big deal since he usually never willingly eats anything I might have left on my plate fish-wise.  And I’ve already waxed poetic of my new found love for green tomatoes.

So it’s not the fanciest meal around, but it’s a definite solid weeknight option.

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  1. I LOVE that the green tomatoes are baked rather than fried! And harissa tartar sauce? That is awesome! I like the face plates…I think you might have your “niche” with them!
    Ann recently posted..Pot Roast!My Profile

  2. Those pictures are making me hungry.

  3. The harissa tartar sauce must be terrific! I love the idea of using Greek yogurt.

  4. Your Middle East take on fish sticks came at the perfect time — my hubby just got in from the lake and I was trying to decide what to do with today’s catch. No more plain ol’ fish sticks for us!
    Kimby recently posted..Between Seasons… A Savory TransitionMy Profile

  5. Love the face plate! 🙂 What a fun meal and tasty meal! I’ve never used harissa paste, but that might change. Your harissa tartar sauce for fish sounds wonderful. I must admit that one of my favorite meals is fried catfish with fried green tomatoes. I only make it once a year for obvious reasons, but your meal might allow it a little more often – baked, not fried. Love it!
    mjskit recently posted..Albuquerque International Balloon FiestaMy Profile

  6. Mmmm, yum. I love fish stick but never made them myself. Thanks again for participating in Cook around the Globe.
    German Mama recently posted..Announcement: "Cook Around the Globe" – October 2011My Profile

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