Pollock baked in a bag with preserved lemon and tomato couscous

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Pollock baked in a bag with preserved lemon and tomato couscous

Main Serves 2 40 min
Cooking fish in a parcel is a very forgiving method. The fish gently steams in the parcel without the fierce direct heat that you get from a pan or grill. It will also take on the flavour of any strong aromatics that it shares the space with. There is an air of theatre to opening the parcel at the table. Foil is perfect for the job but you can use baking parchment instead; it makes a much more pleasing parcel. You'll need to fold the edges together well as they are less inclined to crimp than foil. Tuck the edges underneath to stop the steam popping the whole thing open. A few strategic staples may help too, but remove them before serving.


  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 3 spring onions
  • 30g parsley
  • 2 pieces preserved lemon
  • 60g pitted green olives
  • 150g wholemeal couscous
  • 2 tsp harissa
  • 1 tagine spice pot, containing:
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground fennel
  • pinch saffron
  • 2 pollock fillets
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper


Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 35 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Cut the tomatoes in half. Place them on the baking tray, cut side up. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle over a coating of olive oil. Place them in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
  • Step 2

    Trim the spring onions and slice them as finely as you can. Wash the parsley and shake it dry. Pick off the leaves and chop them finely. Remove and discard the seeds and pulp from the preserved lemons. Slice the skin into fine slices. Slice the olives in half.
  • Step 3

    Put a kettle on to boil. Tip the couscous into a heatproof bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season well with salt and pepper and mix together. Tip in enough boiled water to just cover the couscous by 1cm. Cover the bowl tightly with cling film.
  • Step 4

    Let the couscous sit for 5 minutes and then stir in the harissa, tagine spice pot, spring onions, olives, preserved lemon, the roasted tomatoes and half of the parsley. Lay out 2 large squares of foil. Divide the couscous between each square. Sit it in a neat pile in the centre.
  • Step 5

    Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Sit the fish on top of the couscous and place a bay leaf on the top of each piece of fish. Bring the edges of the foil up to form parcels. Tip 2 tablespoons of water into each parcel and add a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Step 6

    Crimp the edges of the foil together to close the parcels, as if making a Cornish pasty. Make sure the parcels have plenty of air in them so that the fish can steam well. Place the parcels on the baking tray and place in the oven for 12 minutes.
  • Step 7

    Tease the parcels open and check the fish. If not completely cooked return for a few minutes more. Pull open the parcels and transfer the contents onto plates. Garnish with the remaining parsley and a wedge of lemon for squeezing.

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