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Recipes on this page: Tomato caper and lemon line fish , Moroccan Style Line Fish ,                                                                                 Twice Cooked line fish



This light fish dish is the perfect stand by for summer days. Quick to prepare using flavours that reflect the essence of the season - ripe tomatoes, fresh oregano or basil, plump caperberries or capers and fine shreds of lemon peel.  This is a particularly useful recipe as the entire dish can be prepared in advance, even a day ahead and served at room temperature or lightly chilled. Pass around a steamed new potato salad, well seasoned, tossed with olive oil and chives and served with a spoonfuls of creamy yoghurt. 



1,5 kg line fish fillets

paper towels

sea salt

wax paper

red pepper flakes or milled black pepper

a sharp cook’s knife

4 large, ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

chopping board

1 tbsp sugar

small bowl

2 tsp powdered mustard 

set of measuring spoons

2 cloves garlic, chopped

a saucepan

zest of 1 lemon

a large shallow ovenware dish.

12-14 plump caperberries or 1 tbsp capers, drained


3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


sprigs of fresh herbs (oregano, basil or tarragon)




When buying fish, check the quality. Fresh fillets should be firm, almost translucent, never cream with a yellowish tinge and never any fish odours. 

On arrival home, immediately wash the fillets, drain and sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Cover with wax paper and refrigerate. Use as soon as possible.

Pat fish dry with paper towels to avoid diluting the tomato sauce.

Heat oven to 180°C. Place fish in a shallow oven dish. Scatter well-dried line fish fillets with pepper flakes and a little sea salt. 



To skin tomatoes, make a little cross on the top of each and cover with boiling water. Leave for a minute or two and you will find the skin slips off effortlessly.

It is important to add sugar, which will bring out the flavour of the ripe tomatoes. Only use ripe red tomatoes, otherwise you will not achieve the deep, rich flavour.

Place tomatoes, sugar, mustard and garlic into a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir and cook for a few minutes to reduce slightly.

Cooking and reducing the tomato topping first is necessary, as this enables you to cook the fish for the minimum time. 


Cover line-fish with spoonfuls of reduced tomato sauce and sprinkle liberally with lemon zest.

Spoon olive oil over the fillets, scatter oregano sprigs and add capers.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove, cool and serve at room temperature. 

The essence of this dish is the speed with which it is cooked. Therefore the oven dish itself should be an excellent conductor of heat. I find that a good quality stainless steel works well. 


To make a potato salad to serve with the fish, quarter small new potatoes and place in a steamer. Sprinkle with sea salt and fennel seeds. Cook until softened. Remove and toss with olive oil and chopped chives. Serve with a spoonful or two of well-seasoned yoghurt.

Linefish Dressed Moroccan-Style
Serves 6
Delicious with quick steamed fine green beans tossed with olive oil and seasoned with Lemon and Black Pepper Seasoning. Pass a good Italian-style flatbread around the table to mop up the absolutely divine juices.

6 boned, but not skinned, fillets of Kingklip, Kabeljou, Cape Salmon, Steenbras or Yellowtail (about 1.25kg in total)
Ina Paarman's Seasoned Sea Salt
olive oil

1 red bell pepper
3 medium very ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
1 t (5 ml) coriander seeds, crushed
¼ t (1 ml) ground cumin
pinch of tumeric
1 red chilli, finely sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced with seeds
½ cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 T (30 ml) lemon juice
1 T (15 ml) coriander leaves
Ina Paarman's Lemon and Black Pepper Seasoning

Slash a diamond pattern into the skin side of the fish to prevent it from curling while cooking. Season the fish with Seasoned Sea Salt and leave to firm in the fridge covered with clingfilm and an ice brick on top to keep the fish deep chilled while making the sauce.

Roast the bell pepper under a hot grill or over an open gas flame until the skin is charred. Put into a dish and cover so that it will 'sweat', making the skin very easy to pull off when cold. Prepare the tomatoes and keep on one side. Toast the coriander seeds in a small dry pan. As soon as they are aromatic, pour them into a mortar with the tumeric and cumin. Pulverise with the pestle until coarse ground. Add spices, chilli, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to tomatoes. Peel the red pepper, slice into fine strips and add to tomato mixture. Add the fresh coriander and mint. Season to taste with Lemon and Black Pepper Seasoning.

Heat a ribbed cast iron griddle pan until very hot. Brush the fish on all sides with a generous layer of olive oil and cook meaty side down first. Turn and cook skin side down until fish is just done. Alternatively cook the fish on the braai.

Divide fish between 6 plates. Dress with a generous serving of the well stirred chunky sauce

Twice-Cooked Linefish
Serves 4-6

The secret of this excellent method of cooking fish is to use a heavy-bottomed, fluted cast iron pan with a metal handle, which may be placed in the oven. A flat cast-iron saucepan is also suitable. Pan-fry the fish until brown on one side, turn it and then bake it quickly in a hot oven for about 10 min

4 T (60 ml) olive oil
4-6 thick fish cutlets (any firm fish such as kingklip, yellowtail, geelbek, steenbras, etc is suitable)
Choose a large fish and ask the fishmonger to cut bone-in slices from the centre of the fish, at least 2cm thick
Ina Paarman's Lemon and Black Pepper Seasoning

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Cut off the bony fin end of each cutlet and rub the fish liberally with olive oil on both sides. Season both sides. Heat the pan, without oil, until hot. Place the oiled and seasoned fish in the dry, hot pan and brown one side only. Turn the fish. Place the entire pan with the fish immediately into the preheated oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven and serve topped with slices of flavoured butter.