Flavors becoming more than real

Kingfish with oranges, cloves and ginger

Nothing says Zanzibar like cloves! Since the introduction of the clove tree there in the eighteenth century, the production of cloves has been one of the island's most important sources of income, and since the end of the slave trade in the mid-nineteenth century, in fact, it has been the single most important industry. For a while, at the end of the 1880s, cloves made Zanzibar one of the wealthiest countries in the region, and Stone Town was the first city in Africa to be fully electrified.

This is one of my favorite modern Zanzibari dishes, inspired by one served by Masoud Salim and Judi Palmer at Archipelago restaurant in Stone Town. Judi is from that vast continent on the other side of the Indian Ocean, Australia, and the food at Archipelago manages to combine the contemporary influences of Australian cooking with the flavors of traditional Zanzibari cooking.
It's best to use a white game fish of some kind, such as kingfish, marlin, yellowtail, or swordfish, but you can use the fillets of any white firm-fleshed fish, such as halibut. If you want the sauce to be somewhat thicker in consistency, you can add a small pinch of cornstarch at the last minute and boil just until the sauce thickens. If you would like it richer, you can whisk in a small amount of butter just before serving. I like the clear flavors of the fish, orange, and spices and leave it as it is; although the sauce then looks short of perfect, the flavor is, in my opinion, best.
Serve with a simple salad and rice.

8-ounce white-fleshed fish fillets, such as kingfish
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cloves, plus 2 to 3 whole cloves
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest, or more to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons oil, such as canola, plus more for panfrying
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger, or more to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
1 tablespoon butter (optional)

1. Wash the fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with the ground ginger, ground cloves, and half the orange zest.
2. In a small pot, heat a small amount of oil and sauté the onion for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft. Add the orange juice, fresh ginger, whole cloves, 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, and the rest of the orange zest and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, then reduce the heat and let simmer gently, uncovered, while you cook the fish. Taste the sauce every now and then, and remove the cloves if you feel that the clove flavor is getting too penetrating.
3. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the fish for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown, then turn and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. To test for doneness without ruining the appearance of the fillets, stick a fork into the thickest part of one fillet and hold it there for 10 seconds: the fork should come out warm. Or, if using an instant-read thermometer, the interior temperature should be about 160 degrees F.
4. Just before serving, bring the sauce to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. If you want the sauce to be somewhat thicker, whisk in the cornstarch, return to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. If you want the sauce to be richer, whisk in the butter and remove from the heat.
5. Arrange the fillets on plates, pour the sauce over them, and serve.


Where Flavor Was Born
Recipes and Culinary Travels Along the Indian Ocean Spice Route, by Andreas Viestad

Photographs by Mette Randem


Post a Comment

Copyright 2006| Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger XNL by Blogcrowds and tuned by Bloom * Creative Network.
No part of the content of the blog may be reproduced without notice and the mention of its source and the associated link. Thank you.