Friday, November 13, 2009
With the news that the demand for beef is one of the largest contributors to global warming, we're left asking Where's the Fish? Unfortunately simply switching from a Big Mac to a Filet-O-Fish isn't as easy as it sounds (oh, but that it were!). Fish consumption is fraught with both ethical and environmental repercussions. Whether it's the high levels of mercury, the intense overfishing that's leaving our waters bereft of wild specimens, or the farmed fish that Mark Bittman cleverly calls, "the cage-raised chickens of the sea" eating fish is increasingly becoming a edible moral quandary.
An easy (perhaps too easy) place to work out your confusion is with the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Recommendation List. With their Super Green List you can feel "good" about your fish-eating options. As of October 2009, eight fish (a mixture of both wild and farmed) made it to the Best of the Best List, including Rainbow Trout (farmed). With relatively inexpensive rainbow trout available at my local coop, it makes a wonderfully easy meal. One of my favorite recipes comes from Vij's Indian Cookbook, and is a simple sour cream curry that works beautifully with the seared trout.
Seared Rainbow Trout with Sour Cream Curry
(adapted from Vij's Cookbook which calls for Striped Bass in the recipe)
Sour Cream Curry
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. asafoetida
3 cups pureed tomatoes (I use canned crushed tomatoes)
1 T. salt
1 t. tumeric
1 t. ground cayenne pepper
2 t. ground fenugreek seeds
7 cups water
1 1/4 cups stirred sour cream
3 T. crushed garlic
Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in pot on medium heat for one minute. Add asafoetida, stir well and allow to sizzle for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, salt, tumeric, cayenne and fenugreek. Stir together and reduce heat to low, cover the pot and cook for five minutes. Remove the lid and stir well.
Add water, stir and increase the heat to medium. Bring to a boil and cook for ten minutes, stirring regularly so that the water blends in completely with the spices. Stir in the sour cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for another five minutes. Remove from heat.
In a small frying pan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil on medium heat. Saute garlic for five minutes or until brown but not burned. Stir cooked garlic into the curry and set aside.
6 fillets rainbow trout (or striped bass)
1 T. salt
1 T. cumin seeds
1 1/2 T. ground cumin
2 T. ground coriander
1 t. tumeric
1 t. cayenne pepper
2 t. paprika
1 T. mango powder
1/2 c. canola oil for searing
In a large bowl, mix salt, cumin seeds, ground cumin, coriander, tumeric, cayenne, paprika, and mango powder. Spread this mixture on a baking try and dip each fillet in the mixed spices making sure both sides of each piece are completely coated. Arrange coated fillets on the baking tray.
Just before serving, heat 1 1/2 T of oil into a nonstick frying pan on medium heat. Place a fillet, skin side down, in the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Allow the skin to become slightly crispy. Gently turn the fillet over and cook for another 2 minutes. It should flake easily when prodded with a fork.
Arrange one fillet, skin side up, in a large bowl. Pour sour cream curry on top. [Coconut rice is also a nice addition.]