Friday, August 14, 2009

Yellow Summer Dinner

This all-yellow dinner is great on a hot day. Based on a similar dinner from A Platter of Figs.

In a small bowl, combine ground cumin, fennel seed, clove, turmeric, and curry. If using whole seeds, it's best to toast them in a dry cast-iron skillet before grinding the spice grinder. Set halibut fillets on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, drizzle with a little olive oil, and rub the spice mixture into the flesh with your fingers, until they are very yellow and coated. Let the fish sit out for a while, or refrigerate up to several hours, but bring to room temperature before cooking.

In a small saucepan, sauté half a sweet white onion, sliced thin, with salt, curry powder, and olive oil. Add one can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, 1/4 cup dried currants, 1/3 cup couscous, and 1/2 cup water. Mix once, cover, and bring to boil. Remove from heat as soon at it comes all the way to a boil, but do not remove the cover. Let sit covered until you are ready to eat: the couscous will hold its heat.

Slice four large yellow tomatoes — we used yellow pineapple tomatoes from Riverdog, which had a wonderful spicy flavor — into thin wedges. Mix in a serving bowl with the other half the onion, also sliced thin, and some salt.

Combine plain yogurt with olive oil, salt, mustard powder, ginger, and cumin, to taste.

Wash half a bag of mixed greens from Happy Boy for the salad. Mash one clove of garlic with a fair amount of salt in the mortar and pestle. Combine half the garlic with lemon juice and olive oil for the salad dressing.

Transfer the other half of the garlic paste to a large non-stick fry-pan, and heat in some olive oil. When the garlic begins to fizzle, add the halibut. Cook halibut on both sides; we had ours wonderfully flaky for the outer centimeter, and wonderfully rare in the center.

Save the salad for having as a final course. Serve the rest of the dishes together, drizzling the yogurt sauce lightly over everything.

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