Sea bream and salsa, courgette salad and spiced watermelon: Yotam Ottolenghi’s meal for a sunny day – recipes (2024)

It’s a time of year when I want all my meals to look like a colour wheel. Red and yellow peppers, raw and sweet, or meltingly slippery from roasting. Buttery courgettes doused in hot harissa and cooling yoghurt. And, to finish, chunks of watermelon, straight from the fridge, ideally. Now for well-behaved weather and endlessly blue skies …

Baked sea bream with red pepper bulgur and coriander salsa (pictured top)

This one-pan bake is bursting with summer flavours. Tomato-and-pepper paste, or biber salçasi, is a Turkish staple that’s used much like tomato puree, and adds sweetness and gentle spice. You can get it in most Middle Eastern shops, but don’t worry if you can’t find any: use rose or regular harissa instead, or tomato paste mixed with a little aleppo chilli.

Prep 25 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

2 red peppers, stems, seeds and pith removed and discarded, flesh cut into 1cm-thick strips (300g)
2 heads garlic, the top 2cm sliced off horizontally to reveal the cloves, plus one clove extra, peeled and crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
6
anchovies in oil, drained
2 tbsp Turkish tomato and pepper paste
90ml olive oil
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
Fine sea salt and black pepper
4 sustainably-sourced sea bream fillets
(360g)
150g fine bulgur
2½ tbsp finely chopped coriander
(10g)
2½ tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (10g)
1 red chilli, stem, seeds and pith removed, flesh finely chopped
⅓ tsp ground cardamom

Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Put the sliced peppers, whole garlic heads, cumin, anchovies, pepper paste, 60ml oil, a tablespoon of vinegar, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper in a 20cm x 30cm baking dish, then bake, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes, until the peppers are slightly charred and softened. Squeeze the garlic out of its papery skins directly into the tray (discard the skins), mix to combine, then transfer half the pepper mixture to a bowl and leave to cool.

While the peppers are roasting, season the fish all over with a tablespoon of oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt and set aside.

Add the bulgur to the remaining pepper mixture in the baking dish, stir in 300ml hot water and a quarter-teaspoon of salt and return to the oven for eight minutes, until most of the water has been absorbed, then remove from the oven.

Turn on the grill to its highest setting. Lay the fish fillets skin side up on top of the pepper and bulgur mix, then grill on the highest shelf for three to five minutes, until the skin is charred in places and the fish is cooked through.

Meanwhile, stir the coriander, parsley, chilli, cardamom, crushed garlic, remaining tablespoon of oil, remaining tablespoon of vinegar and a quarter-teaspoon of salt into the bowl of reserved peppers. Spoon this mixture over the top of the fish and serve.

  • The Guardian aims to publish recipes for sustainable fish. Check ratings in your region: UK; Australia; US.

Roast courgettes with harissa and yoghurt

Sea bream and salsa, courgette salad and spiced watermelon: Yotam Ottolenghi’s meal for a sunny day – recipes (1)

This punchy summer salad makes a great side dish for a lunchtime spread, or turn it into the main event by serving it with flatbreads and a simple green salad. All the various elements can be prepared in advance, but assemble the dish only when you’re ready to eat.

Prep 25 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 2-4

2 courgettes, trimmed and cut at an angle into 5cm slices (400g)
1 yellow pepper, stem, seeds and pith removed and discarded, flesh cut into 6 wide strips
45ml olive oil
Fine sea salt and black pepper
2 tbsp picked dill
(5g), roughly chopped
1⅓ tbsp picked parsley leaves (5g), roughly chopped
½ shallot, cut into thin half-moons
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 red chilli, stem, seeds and pith removed and discarded, flesh cut into 1mm-thin rounds
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp sugar
, or maple syrup
1 tbsp rose harissa
150g Greek-style yoghurt

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9. Put the courgettes and peppers on a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, scatter over a tablespoon of oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, then toss to coat. Bake for 15 minutes, until the courgettes are slightly charred and cooked through. Tip into a bowl, leave to cool for 15 minutes, then stir through the herbs.

Meanwhile, mix the shallot, garlic, chilli, molasses, vinegar, sugar, a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper in a small bowl and leave to marinate for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the harissa and the remaining two tablespoons of oil and set aside.

Stir an eighth of a teaspoon of salt into the yoghurt and set aside.

To serve, spread the yoghurt over the base of a large lipped platter, layer the courgettes on top and drizzle over the onion mixture.

Watermelon with lime syrup and spiced salt

Sea bream and salsa, courgette salad and spiced watermelon: Yotam Ottolenghi’s meal for a sunny day – recipes (2)

This is a great way to dress up fridge-cold, refreshing slices of watermelon. Serve at the end of a meal as pudding, or simply as a cooling snack. These quantities will make more spiced salt than you need: save the excess to serve with slices of ripe mango, pineapple, cucumber or even salad leaves.

Prep 15 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 6
Cost About 90p a head

2kg watermelon, or about ½ large watermelon
10g picked mint or basil leaves, or a mixture, large leaves roughly torn
3 tbsp olive oil

For the lime syrup
2 limes, zest of 1 finely grated, to get 1 tsp, then both juiced, to get 3 tsp
50g demerara sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

For the spiced salt
3 tsp aleppo chilli
¾ tsp flaked sea salt
1 tsp sumac
1½ tsp demerara sugar
⅛ tsp cracked black pepper

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut off and discard the skin and white pith from the watermelon, leaving you with about 1½kg flesh. Cut this into 2cm-thick wedges, arrange them on a large platter and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the lime syrup, put the lime zest, sugar, vanilla bean paste and 50ml water in a small saucepan on a medium heat, bring to a simmer, then cook for five minutes, until bubbling and slightly syrupy. Take off the heat, leave to cool for 15 minutes, then stir in the lime juice.

Meanwhile, put all the ingredients for the spiced salt in a mortar and lightly grind until the salt is fine.

To assemble, drizzle half the syrup all over the watermelon, scatter over all of the herbs and spoon over the olive oil. Sprinkle a quarter of the spiced salt mix on top and serve with the remaining salt and syrup in two bowls on the side.

Sea bream and salsa, courgette salad and spiced watermelon: Yotam Ottolenghi’s meal for a sunny day – recipes (2024)
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