I grew up Bengali.
Having fish for lunch and dinner, prefering rice over roti, fond of monsoon and very unlike a Bengali, running at the mention of sweets packed in khoya or paneer and deep-fried in ghee. Bengalis love their sweets. Period.
I’m still fond of monsoon…especially the extra-stormy ones. And I’d choose rice over roti anyday.
I still run at the mention of “ghee”.
And I’m still totally fishy.
Uh, ok….that didn’t come out right. What I mean is, I still slobber at the thought of fish (or any kind of seafood for that matter)…any kind. Salmon, Hilsa, Cod, Pomfret especially.
I reached the Sunday market early to get a load of fresh fish. Wasn’t disappointed.
A very toothy guy was struggling to line and arrange all the fish and his name tags (for the fish) kept getting muddled.
The market was quiet and wasn’t crowded, a handful of people loitered around the stalls. I had more than enought time on my hands, so I stood and helped him label most of the fish. Compared to my folks, I suck at identifying fish correctly, so I struggled through some of them. And all the while, I just couldn’t stop staring at a bunch of Ghol fish fillets lined on the ice base. The skin shone silver to the point of almost being harsh on the eyes.
I had never cooked Ghol before and was brimming with ideas, ever so slightly doubtful at tackling something I didn’t know about. In the end, going the super simple way sounded most attractive, as always.
I’m leaving one fillet out of the couple that I bought, to make fish cakes. Have been craving them since I don’t remember when.
The options for a sauce were many. I also touched upon the thought of herbed butter sitting pretty on the cooked fillet. Instead I rubbed the butter in….and quite a generous amount, which I didn’t want to and probably wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t been distracted dreaming about the Lieutenant, which is something I’ve been doing more frequently than common sense would allow. Damn him.
Anyway, the accompaning “sauce” had to be simple….I’m one of those who don’t like the taste of the holy fish to be overpowered by anything much, barring a few select items from Indian cuisine (that satisfies my alter ego).
Settling on an almost-subtly-flavored salsa (I’ve always like the phrase “subtly flavored”! It sounds so I-have-a-cooking-show-on-television!). And I was done with lunch.
In other news, I’m really getting frustrated with putting together my portfolio. How the f*** do you cram six years worth of work in an organized manner within a couple of weeks?
Can’t help thinking that I should have been over with it long time back…..when “I had the time”.
I’m so not ready for Postgraduation this year. If only I’d quit being a chicken and say it out loud.
- 1 Ghol fillet (Ok, any fish for that matter works here…so go crazy)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of salted butter, softeed at room temperature
- 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme (1 teaspoon of dried thyme)
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced or chopped finely
- 1 tomato, chopped into teeny-weeny cubes (try not to de-seed it)
- 1 medium-ish shallot, chopped finely (a couple of spring onions would be good too actually)
- 2 tablespoon of almonds
- 1 teaspoon of mild chili flakes (I’m not too fond of anything too spicy, so feel free to vary this amount according to your preference)
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley
- Blanche the almonds, by pouring boiling water over them and leaving them in it for about a minute. Drain and set it to cool.
- Rub both sides of the fillet with salt, pepper, butter and half the amount of thyme.
- Heat the oil in a non-sticky pan and place the fillet in it, skin-side down. Cook on low heat. Flip after about 3-4 minutes and cook the other side for 2 minutes.
- Remove the fish from the pan and keep warm.
- To the oil remaining in the pan, add the onions, garlic, the rest of the thyme, the almonds and the chilli flakes. Higher the heat a little and cook till the onion starts to brown.
- Add tomatoes and saute till soft. Season with salt and pepper (keeping in mind that the fish is already salty) and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Top the fillet with the salsa and squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve hot with peas and wild rice.
Variation: try adding a little wine and light cream after the tomatoes soften for a more textured sauce.