Sumac And Pistachio Crusted Whitefish

Sumac and Pistachio Crusted Whitefish With Saffron Rice Recipe Image

One of my favorite things to make is a pistachio crusted salmon, but today I decided to get a bit experimental and make a sumac and pistachio crusted whitefish. For this recipe, I chose Iridescent Shark as the fish. Interestingly, it is not actually a shark at all. It is so named because of the shark like appearance and the glow exhibited in juveniles. The fish is also known as swai, panga, and cream dory depending on the country you are in.

The fish itself is popular because of it’s low cost, and firm flesh with a mild texture. You can also substitute sole or halibut in this recipe, or whatever whitefish you prefer. For this recipe I picked up a 350 gram filet of the whitefish for only $1.50.

iridescent shark filet for the sumac and pistachio crusted whitefish

Because of the low cost of the fish, I didn’t see a problem with a little recipe creation. After all, if I messed up, I’d only be out a few dollars. As you can see by reading this, I clearly think the end result tasted pretty good.

putting on the mascarpone based crust for the sumac and pistachio crusted whitefish recipe

I decided to use sumac as the main spice in this recipe, as it pairs wonderfully with fish due to its lemony taste. The pistachio and sumac combination really made a nice crust on the fish and is something that I’ll probably be making more often. Luckily I picked up a large bag of sumac on my last trip to Istanbul.


I got the crust to stick to the fish by making a paste of mascarpone. I know people reject the idea of cheese and fish, but in this case it works really well. Think of it more like a cream sauce rather than cheese.

Shelling pistachios for the sumac and pistachio crusted whitefish recipe

When making any type of pistachio crusted whitefish (or any fish for that matter), the important thing is to shell your own pistachios. If you buy pre-shelled there is a tendency for them to be soggy, and they won’t work well in the crust.

Saffron for the saffron rice
Iranian saffron I also picked up on my last trip to Istanbul

I paired this recipe with a simple saffron rice. I also think this recipe would work well with some mixed vegetables as well.

saffron rice

One of the best parts of this recipe is that you can make the rice while the fish is baking, so no need to spend too much time. In total, the entire sumac and pistachio crusted whitefish recipe only took me 30 minutes. That makes this a pretty good weeknight meal, even though it looks and sounds much fancier.

sumac and pistachio crusted whitefish recipe

Sumac And Pistachio Crusted Whitefish

A delicious and classy meal, this sumac and pistachio crusted whitefish is a surprisingly quick recipe.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine American, European, Fusion
Servings 2 people


  • Oven
  • Baking Tray


  • 350 gram Whitefish Filet. I used Iridescent Shark but any whitefish will do
  • 1/3 cup Mascarpone
  • 1/3 cup Pistachios shelled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp Sumac
  • 1 tbsp Paniermehl German style breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp Salt or to taste
  • 2 tbsp Water

Saffron Rice

  • 1 cup Rice I used arborio, but you can use what you prefer
  • 6 Saffron Stamens you can use more or less depending on how 'red' you want the rice.
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil extra virgin


  • Start this recipe by making the rice. Boil a cup of rice in 2 cups of water, uncovered on medium heat until the water is dissolved (about 15 minutes). While the rice is boiling, start on step 2.
  • Use a paper towel to pat dry the filet of fish. You'll want it to be completely dry before adding the crust. In a separate bowl add the mascarpone, chopped pistachios, sumac, water and salt. Mix together with a fork. If it is too thin, add a little more mascarpone, if too thick add a little bit of water. Place the fish on a foil lined baking tray and rub the crust mixture over the top of the fish.
  • Preheat your oven to 175 Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit. Put the baking tray with the fish in the oven and cook for 15 minutes on convection.
  • While the fish is baking, add the olive oil to a skillet on medium heat. Add the saffron and let the color diffuse into the oil. Then add the rice and mix it all up with the oil.


It is important that the entire filet is covered in the sumac and pistachio crust, otherwise the fish will overcook. 
Keyword Pistachio Crusted Whitefish, Seafood, Sumac, Whitefish

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