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Seared Fish with Maple Tamarind Glaze

  • Active time:45 min
  • Start to finish:1 1/4 hr
March 2008
Watch chef Cardoz demystify tamarind and explain how it can be used as a substitute for lemon, lime, or vinegar.
  • 12 large cauliflower florets, halved lengthwise
  • 1 (3-oz) piece tamarind pulp (from a pliable block)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup white fish stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced cilantro leaves
  • 6 (6-oz) pieces red snapper or mahimahi fillet with skin
  • Equipment:

    an electric coffee/spice grinder
  • Blanch cauliflower in a medium pot of boiling water 1 minute. Drain and cool to room temperature.
  • Cut tamarind into a few pieces and place in a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand until tamarind is softened, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a dry small heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat until hot, then toast coriander, shaking skillet occasionally, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Toast peppercorns in same manner. Grind toasted spices to a powder in grinder.
  • Drain tamarind, then force through a fine-mesh sieve, using a rubber spatula (discard solids).
  • Stir together maple syrup, stock, ginger, and 1/4 cup tamarind pulp in a small heavy saucepan and simmer until reduced to a coating consistency, about 10 minutes. Add salt and toasted spices to taste, then keep warm, covered.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook cauliflower, cut sides down, 2 minutes. Add butter, swirling skillet, and cook until cauliflower is crisp-tender and cut sides of florets are browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with cilantro. Keep warm, loosely covered. Wipe skillet clean.
  • Pat fish dry and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt (total). Heat 2 tablespoons oil in cleaned skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook 3 fish fillets, skin side down first, turning once, until just cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and fish.
  • Serve fish and cauliflower lightly drizzled with glaze.