Tuna Tiradito with Aji Amarillo Leche de Tigre

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Tiradito is a Peruvian dish of raw fish that’s similar to ceviche: sashimi-style fish in an acidic sauce — a testament to Peru’s legacy of Japanese immigrants and their influence on Peruvian food. Perfect as an appetizer and adapted from a Food & Wine recipe, this tiradito sits in a citrusy sauce spiked with aji amarillo chiles. The aji amarillo is essential here: it gives this dish a piquant heat and pop of color that looks striking against a garnish of blue potato chips.

Tuna tiradito with aji amarillo leche de tigre

Ingredients:

1/4 cup jarred aji amarillo paste
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced ginger
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 pound sushi-grade tuna, cut into 1 1/2- x 1 1/2- x 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 small bowl blue potato chips
1/4 cup chopped salted roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup sliced green onions

1. Place aji amarillo paste, lemon juice, orange juice, salt, garlic, and ginger in a blender; process until smooth. With blender running, slowly add oil in a thin, steady stream until sauce emulsifies.

2. Spread sauce on a large rimmed platter and arrange tuna slices over sauce. Sprinkle with chips, peanuts, sesame seeds, and green onions, and serve.

Persian Gulf-Style Fish Kotlet (Kotlet-e Mahi)

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I grew up with the standard beef or lamb and potato kotlet, which is popular throughout Iran and has Russian origins (Iran long shared a border with the USSR). But I wonder about the origins of these fish kotlets. They’re more like Sri Lankan fish cutlets: spicy, crispy, and pillowy in the middle. Between fish kotlets, sambouseh, and dal adas in the Persian Gulf region, these dishes point to a South Asian culinary exchange. And that’s what I love about Iranian food: there are influences from our neighbors in so many of our meals.

Make sure to seek out the date molasses, as it’s a key ingredient in the sweet and sour glaze that adorns these kotlets. Date molasses can be found at most Middle Eastern grocers.

Persian Gulf-style fish kotlet

Ingredients:

1 potato, boiled, peeled, and cut into quarters
1 pound boneless, skinless fish fillets (such as tuna, salmon, or catfish), cut into small pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 serrano pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 green onions, chopped
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons dried fenugreek
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tamarind dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water, strained through a fine-mesh sieve
1/2 cup date molasses
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. In a food processor, pulse the potato until grainy. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

2. Place the fish, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, serrano pepper, turmeric, cumin, baking powder, green onions, cilantro, fenugreek, and chickpea flour in the food processor and pulse until the mixture is combined. Transfer the mixture to the mixing bowl with the potatoes, add the eggs, and mix well. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes and up to 8 hours.

3. Scoop up the fish mixture with a spoon and using oiled hands, mold 12 walnut-sized balls. Gently flatten each ball into patties.

4. In a wide skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Fry the patties on both sides until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes for each side.

5. In the meantime, make the glaze: in a small saucepan, combine the tamarind paste, date molasses, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cinnamon. Stir well and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.

6. To serve, arrange patties on a serving platter and drizzle with the glaze. Serve with flatbread or lettuce leaves and a platter of sabzi khordan to make wraps. I also like to serve these with South Indian-style Meyer lemon pickles.

Iranian Spicy Fish and Herb Braise (Ghaliyeh Mahi)

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Ghalieyh mahi is something I only heard about growing up but never tasted until recently. “What’s southern Iranian food like?” I’d ask. One answer popped up more than others, no matter who I’d ask in the community: ghaliyeh mahi.

One of the most popular dishes from the south, ghaliyeh mahi is a fish braise that makes ample use of fenugreek (making this dish faintly reminiscent of ghormeh sabzi for those who grew up with it, like me) as well as cilantro and hot peppers. Served over rice, I can easily see why it’s so popular.

Ghalieh mahi

Ingredients:

For the herb sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups roughly chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 serrano chili, chopped
3 tablespoons rice flour
2 teaspoons tamarind dissolved in 3 cups water and drained through a fine-mesh sieve
1 teaspoon date molasses

For the dusting:

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground dried ginger

For the fish:

2 pounds halibut fillets, skins and bones removed, cut into 3-inch lengths
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. To make the herb sauce: In a food processor, place all the ingredients for the sauce except for the tamarind and date molasses and pulse until you have a smooth consistency.

2. To cook the braise: Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over low heat and saute the sauce for 10 minutes until it is aromatic.

3. Add the tamarind water and date molasses. Mix and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. To cook the fish: In a small bowl, mix the dusting ingredients. Dust both sides of the fish fillets and set aside.

5. In a wide nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high until hot. Sear the fish fillets on both sides until golden.

6. Add the fish to the braise, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Serve with basmati rice.

Crispy Cod with Miso Vinaigrette

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Who knew that corn, miso, and fish would pair so well together? I use cod in this east-meets-west entree, but you can use halibut too — any firm, flaky white fish will do just fine. I love the crunchy, crispy, creamy melange of textures in this one-dish meal. Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list; this dish may take a while but the technique is straightforward.

Crispy cod with miso vinaigrette

Ingredients:

For the ginger-green onion oil:

2 tablespoons minced green onion
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chicken stock
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white miso
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup water, or as needed

1 pound cod or halibut fillets
Salt
Pepper
3/4 cup panko
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 green onions, trimmed and julienned into thin strips 2 inches long
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1. Make the seasoned oil: Heat a small skillet over high heat until just hot. Add the vegetable oil and heat just until it begins to smoke. Carefully add the green onion and ginger to the oil. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Make the vinaigrette: Whisk the olive oil, rice vinegar, chicken stock, mayonnaise, miso, sugar, peanut butter, mustard, and sesame oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in enough water to attain a syrup-like consistency.

3. Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper. Drizzle enough of the ginger-green onion oil onto the fillets to coat both sides. Pat the bread crumbs onto both sides of the fish.

4. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat until hot. Heat the 1/4 cup vegetable oil and place the fillets in the pan. Cook, turning once, making sure the bread crumbs do not burn, until both sides are golden and the cod is cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. Pour the oil out of the pan.

5. Add the butter to the pan and melt over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the corn and saute for another 3 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

6. To serve, spoon the vinaigrette onto a serving platter. Make a well in the center of the vinaigrette. Spoon the mushroom and corn mixture onto the well. Set the cod fillets on top. Scatter the green onion strips and sesame seeds over the fillets. Drizzle a small amount of the seasoned oil over the fillets and serve.

Fish Tacos with Wakame Slaw

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Craving fish tacos but don’t want to go to the trouble of deep-frying? Then try this recipe. I thought I’d miss the crispy batter, but honestly, the flaky cod, the Old Bay Seasoning, and the tangy, seaweed-laced slaw make these my new favorite fish tacos. And they’re waaaay healthier and easier to make.

This recipe makes more wakame slaw than you’ll need for the tacos, which is fine, because it’s delicious on its own as a salad.

Fish tacos with wakame slaw

Ingredients:

For the fish:

2 pounds boneless cod fillets
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
Corn or flour tortillas

For the slaw:

2 ounces dried wakame seaweed
1/2 to 1 red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1. Make the slaw: Soak seaweed in warm water for 10 minutes to re-hydrate, then blanch by tossing into boiling water for 15 seconds. Drain wakae in a colander and rinse in ice bath. Drain wakame again and squeeze out excess water. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

2. Make the dressing for the slaw: stir together tahini, lemon juice, water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, and ginger, adding salt to taste if necessary. Toss wakame, cabbage, carrots, and green onions with dressing and sprinkle salad with sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Set aside.

3. Make the fish: Season fish with Old Bay and salt. Heat a large pan to medium-high and add avocado oil. Saute fish until cooked through and golden on both sides, about 7 minutes for each side.

4. Warm up the tortillas in a pan on medium heat for about 30 seconds per side. Place fish on a warm tortilla and top with a generous serving of wakame slaw.