The sweet, nutty and lemony flavour of lightly roasted cumin pairs beautifully with the fish and light butter sauce in this recipe.

Rory says: "The tomato in the sauce, which as always should be really ripe, adds a touch of acidity which helps to balance the flavours in the dish.

The late addition of the coriander freshens it all up.The sauce here, a beurre fondue, variations of which I use several times, is a really useful one and can be used in many different dishes. The flavours can be varied as often as there are weeks in the year.

"It is well worth mastering, and when you can make it with confidence, you will, I predict, find it invaluable.
I also use it as a light sauce for asparagus, the sprouting broccolis and seakale.

"Chopped herbs, appropriate to what you are serving it with, can be added in at the last moment to give you a myriad of variations."


  • Any fish for grilling should be spanking fresh in which case the job is much easier and the flavour sweet and superior.
  • Try and find cod that has been caught by fishermen practicing sustainable fishing practices. Good fishmongers will flag these initiatives in their shops.
  • Roasting the cumin seed adds a lovely nuttiness and richness to its flavour.
  • Ripe and firm tomatoes make all of the flavours in this dish come together as a combination.
  • 4 x 175g portions of Cod, with skin still attached
  • a little white flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds, roasted and coarsely ground
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Tomato and Coriander Beurre Fondue

  • 2 ripe firm tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1 cm dice
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaf


  1. Place the grill pan over a medium heat and allow to get quite hot. Dip the fish in the seasoned flour to coat both sides. Shake off the excess flour. Brush the flesh side of the fish fillets with olive oil. Sprinkle the ground cumin on to the flesh side of the fish and press in with your fingers.
  2. Place the fish pieces, spiced side down, on to the hot grill pan. The fish should sizzle immediately it hits the pan, if it doesn’t, the pan wasn’t hot enough and you need to crank up the heat immediately.
  3. Let the fish cook, still on a high heat until the fish is well coloured. There should be a bit of smoke coming from the pan, but not great clouds of it, so adjust the heat accordingly. Lift the fish at one corner to check if it is golden and getting crisp.
  4. When you are confident this stage has been reached, turn the heat down a little and with the help of a fish or egg slice, turn the fish over on to the skin side. Let it continue to cook until the skin is crispy and the fish is cooked through. You will know the fish is cooked when the flesh appears to be white and creamy in colour and no longer looks translucent.  
  5. While the fish is grilling you can be making the beurre fondue. 
  6. Place 2 tablespoons of water in a very small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pull the pan off the heat and vigorously whisk in the cold butter, 2 pieces at a time. The butter should start to emulsify and look slightly creamy. Continue adding the butter and whisking at the same time.
  7. Replace the pan on a low heat if the butter is not melting into the sauce. When all of the butter is added and the sauce has a light yet creamy consistency, remove from the heat. Season the tomato pieces with salt and pepper and a small pinch of sugar and add to the sauce.
  8. Add a few drops of lemon juice. Place the saucepan back on the heat and bring to a bare simmer, just to warm the tomato through. You don’t want the tomato to collapse.
  9. Add the chopped coriander. Taste and correct seasoning and keep in a warm place while you are plating the fish.
  10. Place the cooked fish on hot plates or a large serving dish. Drizzle a little of the sauce and tomato over the fish, but not drowning the fish and leaving some of the cumin crust exposed. Pass the rest of the sauce separately in a hot sauceboat.
  11. Serve immediately.