Grilled Cod with Indian Spices and Yellow Tomatoes

Adapted via A Platter of Figs
Serves: 8

For Yogurt Sauce:
♦ 3 cups whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek nonfat)
♦ 1 tbsp olive oil
♦ 2 tsp mustard seeds
♦ 2 tsp cumin seeds
♦ 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
♦ 2 tsp grated ginger
♦ 1 serrano chile, finely chopped (jalapeño can be substituted for a less-spicy version)
♦ salt and pepper

For Fish:
♦ 2 tsp cumin seeds
♦ 2 tsp coriander seeds
♦ 2 tsp fennel seeds (or anise seeds)
♦ 6 cloves (or 1/4 tsp ground cloves)
♦ 1 tbsp turmeric
♦ 1/2 tsp cayenne
♦ 8 cod fillets or steaks, about 6 ounces each
♦ salt and pepper
♦ 2 tbsp olive oil
♦ 8 yellow tomatoes, cut into small wedges
♦ 2 cups spinach leaves
♦ a handful of mint leaves

For yogurt sauce: put the yogurt in a bowl. In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, add the garlic and let it sizzle, without browning, about 10 seconds or so.

Scrape the contents of the pan into the yogurt. Stir in the ginger and chile. Season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to use (The sauce will keep in the fridge for a day or two).

For spice rub: in a dry cast-iron pan (or other heavy skillet), toast the cumin, coriander, fennel, and cloves (unless using ground cloves) over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and grind fine. Put the ground spices in a small bowl and add the turmeric and cayenne (and ground cloves, if using ground).

For the fish: place the cod on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the fish, then massage it in. Cover and refrigerate for up to several hours. Bring the fish to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat the grill, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until just opaque throughout (the fish can also be cooked under the broiler, baked in a hot oven, or pan-cooked).

For assembly: arrange each fillet onto a pile of spinach, and surround with the yellow tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes lightly with salt. Spoon a little yogurt sauce onto each portion and pass the rest at the table. Sliver the mint leaves with a sharp knife and scatter over the platter; serve immediately.

To read more about this dish and my musical pairing, click HERE.

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