Wonderful food, a warm welcome and a beautiful location.

Woodfired Gurnard Fillets with Ras El Hanout and Tomato Salsa

We’ve said many times how much we love fish cooked in the woodfird oven; you must be really fed up of hearing it – but if nothing else, do make sure to try this recipe of fish fillets cooked in aromatic ras el hanout with a warm tomato salsa. It’s just fantastic – like fishfingers for grown ups, a delicious and quick, super succulent fish supper.

You can make your own ras el hanout, a delicious spice blend from North Africa or many shops sell it now as well. Nothing should taste too dominant but hints of everything should rise to the surface. We’ve made a batch for this recipe so if you make it, have a little jar handy to keep the remaining spice mixture in as you’ll have too much for this recipe; one of those things that it’s easier to make in bigger rather than smaller batches.

We used gurnard fillets from the fishmonger which we can get readily down here on the south coast. If you can’t get hold of gurnard, try other fish such as cod or haddock, salmon. monkfish, trout, even raw king prawns.

The video is on our youtube channel here – do give us a thumbs up or leave us a comment; we love to hear from you.

Woodfired Gurnard Fillets with Ras El Hanout and Tomato Salsa

Ingredients for 4

For the Ras El Hanout –

2tsp each ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, ground turmeric, mild smoked paprika

1tsp each ground nutmeg, ground black pepper, ground cinnamon, allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

For the rest of the dish –

8 medium gurnard fillets

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 red peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped (or less if you prefer)

4 large tomatoes, deseeded, peeled and finely chopped (as in the video)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Finely grated zest 1 lemon

Small handful chopped fresh coriander

Couscous – ready soaked; we used about 200g dried couscous soaked in 350g boiling water until puffed up and all the water is absorbed; fork through to loosen any clumpy bits

Oven State, equipment etc

High heat – pizza temperature, 1-2 Mississippi with a good flame burning to grill the fish and lower – 2-3 Mississippi for cooking the salsa

Door – off ┬áNot needed at these high temperatures

Heat deflector is very useful to prevent side scorch and create space in the oven


  • Heat a pan in the oven for the salsa. When it’s hot and the oven is medium in heat, add 2tbsp olive oil and the red onion and red peppers. Stir together and cook slowly until the veggies are tender and the juices have dried out.
  • Stir in the garlic and red chillies and cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook gently for 5 minutes before adding a pinch of salt with the lemon zest and most of the chopped fresh coriander, keeping 1tbsp or so back for garnishing at the end. Stir altogether and keep warm at the door of the oven.
  • Heat another pan – we used a kadai pan for easy turning in the oven – and add more olive oil, about 4tbsp.
  • While the oil is heating up, add the gurnard fillets to a mixing bowl and mix in (with your hands) 2tbsp olive oil and 1tbsp of the ras el hanout. Make sure the fillets are evenly coated.
  • When the oil in the pan is hot, add the fish fillets, skin side down and push the pan towards the fire (using the heat deflector to keep the flames grilling over the top).
  • Cook the fish for 2-3 minutes or until cooked through – you won’t have to turn them over as the flames will cook them from the top.
  • When the fish is cooked, put the couscous in a serving bowl and add the fish fillets on top with the salsa spooned round the outside. Sprinkle over the rest of the chopped fresh coriander and squeeze over the juice of half of the lemon you used for the zest.
  • Serve at once.


  • Use different fish fillets whatever you can buy and enjoy – monkfish, cod, haddock, salmon, John Dory, trout would all be perfect
  • Play around with different spice combinations for the ras el hanout – just make sure nothing is too dominant. Cloves in particular can be very powerful so use frugally!
  • Try different chillies in your salsa for different flavours and varying degrees of heat.
  • Instead of salsa, serve the fish in a wrap wrap with the salsa and some green salad. A perfect hot sandwich!

Wine Suggestions

For white, how about this American Riesling which would be perfect. A lovely off-dry Riesling with zesty acidity on the nose with tropical honey & ripe pear flavours on the palate followed by sweet lime notes on the very long finish.

Or a French Viognier which has a lovely texture and an attractive underlying sweetness which would sit well with the sweetness of the gurnard but is also sturdy enough to cope with the ras al Hanout spices & the acidity of the tomato.

More Fish Recipes?

Remember we have lots more fish recipes on our youtube playlist here and in our Woodfired Fish & Seafood Book available from us here at the cooking school and on Amazon in the UK; available as an ebook in the rest of the world, also on Amazon. Woodfired Gurnard Fillets with Ras El Hanout and Tomato Salsa