Samak Masgoof (سمك مسكوف), a typical Iraqi dish, is made using fish (most commonly carp) from the Tigris river, cut and gutted from the back (rather than the belly), butterflied, and roasted over an open flame.
But this is not the only way to use the generous bounty of the Tigris.(See plain roasted freshwater fish.)
This Iraqi dish of fish roasted with pomegranate molasses is indescribable in its blend of flavors and taste.
The specific combination of the pomegranate molasses and noomi (dried limes) over the mild and succulant fish is sheer genius, product of centuries of tradition and home-bred love for the land and nation.
For lack of a tannour (open flame oven), a traditional oven is used instead.
Lamees Ibrahim was spot-on when she chose to cover her (first edition) cookbook with the Iraqi Tigris fish.
1 large Iraqi carp or any freshwater fish
1 large green capsicum pepper
2 medium tomatoes
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 noomi (dried lime)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Dice the tomato, onion, capsicum; crush the garlic and noomi; mix altogether.
Mix in the salt, pepper, and pomegranate molasses. Set aside.
The fish is preferably cut and gutted from its back rather than its belly.
In either case, “butterfly” the fish, by laying it out flat, skin side down.
Cover the surface area of the flesh-side up with the vegetable-pomegranate mixture.
Bake for 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size of your fish.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to re-distribute before serving with some fresh and steamy Iraqi flatbread.