After a hectic day, slowing down can start in the kitchen with slow cooking. In need of slow ideas check Cooking Slow, Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More (Chronicle Books, September 2013) by Andrew Schloss.
One of the 80 recipes featured in the book is fish dish below.
Arctic Char with Charmoula, Roasted Eggplant with Pearl Couscous, and Mint
Charmoula, like salsa verde and harissa, is versatile but never dull. The alchemy relies on lemon juice, garlic, chile flakes, olive oil, and herbs. It pairs magically with any protein, delivering acidity, spice, and freshness. Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria—each can lay claim to the sauce. It’s magnificent with everything on your plate.
1⁄4 CUP/60 ML FRESH LEMON JUICE
GRATED ZEST OF 1 LEMON
1 TSP CHILE FLAKES
1 TSP CORIANDER SEEDS, CRUSHED
1 TSP CUMIN SEEDS, CRUSHED
1 SHALLOT, MINCED
1⁄2 CUP/20 G FINELY CHOPPED FRESH PARSLEY
1⁄2 CUP/20 G FINELY CHOPPED FRESH CILANTRO
2 GARLIC CLOVES, MINCED
1⁄4 CUP/60 ML VERY GOOD EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1⁄4 TSP KOSHER SALT
FOUR 4- TO 6-OZ/115- TO 170-G ARCTIC CHAR FILLETS
1 TBSP OLIVE OIL
1⁄2 TSP KOSHER SALTROASTED EGGPLANT WITH PEARL COUSCOUS (RECIPE FOLLOWS)
1⁄4 CUP/10 G CHOPPED FRESH MINT
To make the charmoula, in a small serving bowl, mix together the lemon juice and zest, chile flakes, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, shallot, parsley, cilantro, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, and 1⁄4 tsp salt. Stir and set aside.
Preheat the broiler to high, positioning a rack as close to the heat source as possible. Line a baking sheet or large, ovenproof frying pan with foil, crimping the edges up all around to catch any liquid that will be released by the fish. Brush the Arctic char with the olive oil, sprinkle with the 1⁄2 tsp salt, and set it on the foil.
Cook the fish, without turning, for 6 to 12 minutes—possibly more or less, depending on the thickness of the fish and the intensity of your broiler. Check the fish by inserting a knife into the thickest part. The fish should flake apart without resistance. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish should read 135°F/57°C.
Spoon a little charmoula in the center of each plate, place the fish on top to one side, and a portion of the Roasted Eggplant with Pearl Couscous on the other. Sprinkle with mint and serve.
Wild Alaskan salmon or coho salmon are the closest alternatives to Arctic char. Truth is, the charmoula will pair up with any fish.
Roasted Eggplant with Pearl Couscous
Eggplant is one of the most difficult vegetables to cook. It must be cooked thoroughly or it will have that acrid searing effect on the roof of the mouth that’s far from pleasant. This recipe will insure that your eggplant is cooked, but you won’t need to soak it in oil as you do when frying it.
1 LARGE EGGPLANT (ABOUT 2 LB/910 G), CUT INTO 1-IN/ 2.5-CM CUBES
2 TBSP OLIVE OIL
3⁄4 TSP KOSHER SALT
2 1⁄2 CUPS/600 ML WATER
2 CUPS/340 G PEARL (ISRAELI) COUSCOUS
1 TBSP VERY GOOD EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas 6.
In a mixing bowl, toss the eggplant with the olive oil and 1⁄4 tsp of the kosher salt. Lay the eggplant on a baking sheet (line with parchment if you like) and roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until the eggplant is soft and shows flecks of brown and black on the edges.
In a small saucepan set over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the couscous, return the water to a boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes. The water should be absorbed and the couscous, tender.
Transfer the couscous to a large mixing bowl and toss with the extra-virgin olive oil and remaining 1⁄2 tsp of the kosher salt. Add the roasted eggplant and toss again.
Play 'Simmer Down'by Wailing Wailers in background
(* Recipe reproduced from 'Cooking Slow' by Andrew Schloss- Chronicle Books, September 2013- Photographs by Alan Benson, all rights reserved)