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Ainsley’s Harriot's harissa crusted cod

Ainsley Harriott is bringing his fun and flair to the kitchen for his Friday night fish dish. He’s making his harissa crusted cod with a warming tomato stew. Served with crusty bread, it’s super colourful, aromatic and really does pack a punch.

Ainsley’s scrumptious harissa crusted cod

Serves 4:


1 tsp caraway seeds

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing

Pinch of ground cumin

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 heaped tsp tomato puree

2 x 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)

175ml vegetable stock

Pinch of sugar

150g baby spinach leaves

Zest and juice of ½ lemon

2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish

80g breadcrumbs

1 ½ - 2tbsp harissa paste

4 x 140g skinless and boneless thick-cut white fish fillets - cod, Pollock, Hake or Haddock work well. 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C fan / gas 6

2. Put the caraway seeds in a deep-sided frying pan that has a lid over a medium heat and toast for 30 seconds until fragrant

3. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil then the cumin and garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds or until fragrant

4. Stir in the tomato puree and chickpeas until well coated and add the tinned tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, 175ml of the stock and the sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper

5. Bring to boil and reduce the heat before covering and letting simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and simmer for another 6-8 minutes, adding a splash of stock if needed.

6. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time until it has wilted. Give a good squeeze of lemon juice, check for seasoning and stir in 1 tablespoon of the parsley

7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, harissa paste, lemon zest, and the remaining parsley and olive oil.

8. Season the fish fillets and place on a lightly oiled baking tray before spreading the harissa breadcrumbs over the top of each fillet, lightly pressing them down to stick.

9. Bake in the oven for 10-14 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets, or until the top is crispy and the fish is cooked through (it should be opaque and flake easily)

10. Spoon the chickpeas into shallow serving bowls and place a cod fillet on top. Scatter with parsley and serve immediately.

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