Joshua Marker knows how to make the most of an excellent thing. Here shares with us a wonderful way to enjoy the bounty of the season (including a burnt-orange gin cocktail…delish!)
In addition to the awesome Sea Forager CSS, we belong to a most excellent CSA, Terra Firma Farms. So when something is in season, we get a lot of it. It’s a challenge sometimes. (I’m looking at you, kale.)
At this time of year, we always have a couple of gourds and a pile of clementines. I can eat one a day and not get through them. So tonight’s fish recipe, I decided, was going to have to work off some of that farm box too.
This is a sweet-spicy-bitter balance that bring alive a fish that can be a little hard to work with. It’s based around something spicy with sweet fish flesh, the ‘bitter’ of onions and the sour of acidic oranges. And, it has a cocktail that goes with it!
- 5 mandarin oranges, sectioned
- ling cod
- ~1/3 onion, minced
- mint leaves
- squash of whatever kind
Salt the cod, and dust with spices. I used piri-piri, my favorite spice, a nice sweet-hot spice. If you go for cayenne, try to put in some rounder heavier peppers too. I tossed a little bit of tagine too, which you can get mixed at Rainbow, or just look it up. Really beneficial I think is a little bit of cumin; it’s perfect with the orange. Grate one or two clementines worth of zest onto the fish, too.
In the mean time, toss gutted and chopped-up squash in olive oil with salt and pepper in a baking dish. Put it under the broiler. It’ll take 20-30 minutes and you’ll have to toss it once, but let it burn a bit. It only gets better.
About ten minutes after those start, crank up the gas (maybe 75-80%) on a cast iron pan and get the onion into some olive oil. Let it cook for a while, stirring; don’t let it actually burn, but you’re aiming for caramelization. That’ll stop when you add the oranges, because of the water, so let them get close to done.
Then add the fish. I did it skin side up, so the spices and zest would be down, and flipped it twice. Add the sectioned mandarins at the same time. Flip the fish when it starts getting white halfway through. 3-4 minutes after you flip it, turn up the heat even more, all the way, and toss in the chopped mint leaves. You want to caramelize the oranges, and the edges of the fish in the orange juice. The first time I did it I undercooked the fish. I just put it back in and cranked up the heat. If you get lucky the oranges will be burned slightly and still juicy. If not, man, it’s oranges and onions. No losers here.
I took the fish out with tongs, and then tossed some vermouth in the pan to help scrape out the good bits onto the fish.
Vermouth? Yes, I had it around because I’d just made:
Our Man In Havana (working name)
I just got a bottle of St George’s excellent ‘Dry Rye gin’. I didn’t think I’d like it; it’s amazing. Try it on chocolate ice cream. You think I’m joking.
But first, make this:
First, light a match. Or a lighter, but matches are classier.
Take one of those clementine peels and hold it a couple inches over the match. Warm it up. Don’t burn it.
Hold the match between the glass and the orange peel. Give the peel a squeeze, folding it in half like it was going to squirt out your fingers into the glass. A jet of flame will bathe the glass. No shit. Do this a few times, flaming the oils in the orange peel, then rub the peel all over the glass. The inside of the glass. Jeez.
Then shake over ice for ~45 seconds and pour into the chilled glass:
- 1 oz St George Dry Rye Gin (maybe another gin would work, but I dunno - things like Sapphire etc are probably too floral for this)
- 1 oz Cognac
- 3/4 oz vermouth (I love Vya)
- healthy shake or two of angostura
I squeezed into it the juice of a couple sections of clementine, too.
Burnt orange, burnt orange. Flashes of cumin and spice, but also the sweet of the orange and caramelized onion.