Lessons in Med
Grilled Fish in a Turkish Marinade;
Fish With a Citrus and Rosemary Tapenade
April 9, 1997
Joyce Goldstein is an ebullient lover of Mediterranean
food -- in fact, of food period. Since the seventies in the
Bay Area she has
taught not just cooking but also a whole approach to food, and for years her
Square One restaurant was a Pacific Heights landmark. She closed it last year
to concentrate on writing books and on teaching. Her most recent book,
Kitchen Conversations, shows why she
attracts a following wherever she
goes: she's direct and encouraging and gets you to try out-of-the-ordinary
ingredients you might not otherwise buy.
Three recipes from Kitchen Conversations illustrate the way
about food: a spinach-and-rice pilaf with Greek influence, which I hope I'll be
able to try in its native Greece, where Goldstein and I will be attending a
food and culture conference (on Crete) in the middle of this month; grilled
fish in a simple yogurt marinade that makes an enormous difference in moisture
and flavor, with the easily obtained but slightly exotic spices cardamom and
coriander, common in Turkey; and fish with tapenade, the olive spread
traditionally served in Provence, with an orange-lemon tang. Tapenade can be
served with many vegetables, as one of Goldstein's notes remarks. The last
excerpt I've included here gives the full array of tidbits Goldstein offers
alongside many of the
book's recipes, showing why Kitchen Conversations can be as useful as it
is appealing -- especially to a beginning cook.
From Kitchen Conversations, by Joyce
The final touch of lemon and olive oil rounds out the flavors and
accents the leafy quality of the spinach. Did you remember to taste the
onions for sweetness? The mint will accentuate the sweetness and the dill
will meld well with the tartness of spinach and lemon.
and Rice Pilaf
This traditional rustic Greek pilaf, which combines rice and spinach,
can be eaten hot or at room temperature. For a complete meal, top it with
fried eggs, or chopped hard-cooked eggs, or a little crumbled feta
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Cook the
onions over moderate heat about 10 minutes, or until tender and sweet. Add
the garlic and rice and sauté, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add
the spinach, dill, mint, water, and salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.Reduce the heat and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until water is absorb
ed. Remove from the heat and adjust seasonings. Toss with lemon juice mixed
with the remaining olive oil.
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup long-grain rice, basmati preferred
8 cups spinach, chopped coarsely and washed well
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill|
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 1/2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
We can afford to be a bit assertive with the accompaniments here
because the grill/broiler adds another level of flavor called "char." So
don't hesitate to serve that spunky walnut-sauced eggplant or an aggressive
carrot dish. Pilaf and spinach are middle-of-the-road and will probably
This dish appears bold, but remember
that brief marinades often accent rather than take over a dish. The lemon,
cardamom, and coriander provide a lovely backdrop. If you grill over wood,
you pick up the more bitter elements of the wine.
Sparkling wine from the United States:
citrusy and lively, no oak Alvarinho or Albariño from
Portugal or Spain: zippy and tart Riesling from Germany or the
Pacific Northwest: fragrant, ripe and penetrating
Gewürztraminer from the United States: spicy, floral, and off-dry.
Grilled Fish in Turkish Marinade
of Yogurt, Coriander, Cardamom, and Lemon
As the Turks, Greeks, and Indians know, yogurt makes a great marinade
for fish or chicken. It tenderizes as it seasons, and provides a tart
balance for the sweet spices. This is an ideal dish for a busy day when you
have a great desire for flavor but little time to cook.
Combine all of the ingredients and marinate the fish fillets
for 3 to 6 hours.
1 cup nonfat or low-fat yogurt|
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt|
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 5- to 6-ounce fillets of a firm whitefish, such as cod, halibut,
flounder, sea bass, or swordfish
2 tablespoons chopped dill (optional) for garnish
Preheat the broiler or make a charcoal fire. Wipe off excess marinade,
brush the fish lightly with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Broil or grill for about 4 minutes per side.
Garnish with chopped dill, if desired, and serve with a lemon wedge.
You may also cook the fish on a lightly oiled baking sheet in a 400 degree
oven for about 12 minutes, or until done.
Tapenade, the Provençal olive puree, is traditionally served
with many harmonious companions, such as potatoes, green beans, beets,
carrots, fennel. If you want to push the taste envelope, try a more bitter
vegetable, such as broccoli, cauliflower, or eggplant. But you might need a
neutral mediator like a potato to make peace with these assertive flavors.
The olives and rosemary give this dish a
decidedly earthy and herbal character. While a red could work, bold and
pungent whites with tart but balanced acidity are most harmonious. This is
a classic dish for Sauvignon Blanc. If you want red, Cabernet Franc as part
of a Cabernet blend would be your best choice.
Prosecco and Italian sparkling or
non-Champagne French sparkling Alvarinho from Portugal or Vinho
Verde from Spain: pétillant and bright Sauvignon Blanc
from South America or the United States: grassy and herbaceous
Vernaccia from Italy: mineral, aromatic, and ripe.
Fish with a Sauce of Black and Green
Olives, Rosemary, Orange, and Garlic
Let's go from olives as an accent to olives as the main ingredient. This
sauce is a tapenade with a Roman kick of rosemary. Briny olives and bitter
rosemary are balanced with orange zest and fragrant olive oil.
Combine all of the ingredients and leave at room
temperature. Spoon over broiled, grilled, baked, or poached fish
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives|
1/4 cup chopped green picholine olives
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice|
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 to 2/3 cup extra virgin olive
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 5- to 6-ounce fillets of firm fish, such as swordfish, tuna, halibut,
snapper, or sea bass
Note: For more pungency, you may want to marinate the fish in a paste of
finely minced garlic, rosemary, lemon, and olive oil for about an hour
Generic Fish Cooking Instructions for Fish Sauce Recipes
6-ounce skinless fillets of fish
To bake: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle fish with salt
and pepper in an oiled baking dish. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Place on
serving plates and spoon sauce over the fish.
To broil: Preheat the broiler or make a fire in the grill. Brush the
fish lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill or
broil 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place on serving plates and spoon sauce over
To poach: In a large deep sauté pan with high sides, bring
poaching liquid to the depth of 2 to 3 inches (white wine, fish stock, or
water) to a boil. Lower heat and reduce to a bare simmer. Poach fish
fillets uncovered for 6 to 7 minutes. Carefully lift out of poaching liquid
with a slotted spatula. Drain or blot fish dry with a clean cloth towel.
Place on serving plates. Spoon sauce on top.
More by Corby Kummer in Atlantic Unbound
Copyright © 1997 by Corby Kummer.
Kitchen Conversations by Joyce Goldstein. William Morrow and
Company: New York, New York
1997. 378 pp. ISBN: 0-688-13866-7. $25.00. Copyright ©
1997 by Joyce Goldstein.