bits and pieces

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Garam Masala Snapper - Seared and Poached

This was a total shot in the dark that ended up working out REALLY well. I had never made this before, never read a recipe for this. An original!  I've had a bunch of snapper sitting in my fridge, and it's one of my fav fishies so I didn't want to let it go to waste. I've so far seared it in lime + ginger, had it over rice with a pineapple red curry, and also had it poached in garam masala. I'll post all the recipes, but this one goes first!

I was in Toronto last week and visited my aunt and uncle for a night. They had just come back from an adventure in Little India and when I arrived my uncle was toasting and grinding up a storm. The project? Garam Masala. After a wonderful indian dinner, I left with a sample of some Blinov family Garam Masala. This blend was fragrant, spicy, and delish. I plan on making my own in the near future (Uncle George? Recipe for tallest niece? Pleaaase?).

garam masalaaaa
 For any of my six blog readers who don't know - I'm moving to the ethnic epicentre of Canada - Saskatchewan - very soon. I jest.  Not that it doesn't have diversity - BUT I couldn't find lemongrass for the life of me there last summer (ooh first world problems!). 5 grocery stores and a whole afternoon later, we ended up at a tiny asian grocery store in the tiny 'china town' of Regina. I think I will be able to find things like lemongrass and cardamom and chiles - but I will probably just have to go a little further afield. After living in Montreal/TO/Vancouver/even Calgary, I take for granted things like being able to find fish sauce at the corner store. Garam masala might be a handy thing to be able to make when I feel like more international food. I wonder how it would work on ribs or lamb? Chutney + masala rack of lamb? That's DEFINITELY getting a test run.

Regina and ribs aside - this was really nice. The fish stood up to the toned down masala, and the barley raita was an excellent bed for it. It was cool and refreshing and cut the heat just enough. Basil and cilantro are maybe some of my favourite flavours, so really, I was going to love this either way.

I love you Galen Weston. My yogurt of choice.
This was a two step process - first I rubbed the fish with my greek yogurt mixture, and then I essentially seared them and poached them in the sauce I made. Greek yogurt has taken over my life/blog recently - it's so good for you and it's that nice halfway point between yogurt and sour cream. I've been working it into everything recently. It also helps marinate meats well - it's used in marinades in indian cooking and something in the yogurt helps it penetrate the meat better. Ahh the science of cooking. I don't know why it works, I just like that it does.

The hardest part here is not over cooking your fish, which I tend to do. I don't know why I'm totally fine serving rare (raw) steak, but serving undercooked fish seems like SUCH a disaster.  So cook it for less vs. more. It's way better.

ingredients for the fish:
fish! 2 snapper fillets

3 tbsp greek yogurt
2 tsp garam masala
splash of lemon juice
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp lemon juice + the zest of one lemon
2 decent sized splashes of white wine
salt and pepper to taste

other things you will need:
paper towels
non-stick frying pan

  1. Rinse yo' fish. Then pat them dry with paper towels like the wonderful fish-mother you are. Then season them with salt and pepper. 
  2. Combine your yogurt, 2 tsp GM, and splash of lemon. Rub all over your fish (I made mine into a fishwich - mix, fish, mix, fish, mix), wrap with saran/leave on a plate, and put in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. 
  3. Mix your honey, olive oil, GM, rice wine, lemon juice + zest, white wine, and a little salt and pepper. Taste. Adjust with more wine/honey/GM as needed to meet your spiciness quota. 
  4. After the 15-20 minutes are up, remove your snapper from the fridge and heat a nonstick frying pan on med-high. Sear your fillets for 2 minutes per side. 
  5. Lower to medium heat, and add your honey-mixture. Cook fish for additional 2-4 minutes. Remember - under cook vs. over cook. The fish will keep cooking for a minute or so once you've removed it from the heat. Nothing is worse than dry, overcooked fish, so err on the side of sashimi. 
  6. Serve your fish over a bed of barley raita and go in peace knowing you ate healthy. PLUS snapper sounds fancy. You're winning at fish. 

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