I am no Mario Batali or Mark Bitman who gets to take a culinary road trip down the Spanish back country with Gweneth Paltrow in tow.
I am like you.
I order a book of that journey on Amazon. At the minimum price and track that package every day. But, I have a sense of what that road trip may have involved.
A stop at tavern to smell the pimenton followed by a lazy afternoon spent at a back country tomato garden. The gardener had the most lovely homemade wine to offer. On the way back to the hotel, a stop at the local farmer's store. Juicy sweet onions, a bag of the fresh peppers (red, orange, green), wild garlic. And oh yes lets not forget some good old fashioned freshly toasted cumin. A local bottle of wine may be a casual pick up.
You get that picture.
I like to add the touch to that journey, with some coconut powder and some curry leaves. I am a hopeless coconutaholic, which just means I need no encouragement whatsoever to use coconut. The reason I think about coconut in this journey, has to do with the fact that I love the golden and warm beaches of India as much as I like the thought of walking through Spanish back country reading a Hungarian cookbook that I don't understand. A tribute to all that is good about beaches and beachy fare. It can only be done perfect with some fish.
A fish stew that is a wink and nudge to all the beachy flavors!
1 big fish. I like sea bass, trout, sardines or snapper. Cleaned cut into big chunks.
Marinated with 1 tsp of chopped garlic, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of turmeric, a dash of lemon, a dash of vinegar, salt and pepper. Wait 20 mins.
1 big onion. Sliced
2 peppers. Any combination of color or monochrome works too. Sliced coarsely
3-4 medium tomatoes. Pureed in a food processor.
1 tbsf of chopped garlic
1 tbsf smoked paprika. Regular works too.
1/2 tbsf powdered cumin
1/2 tsp of whole mustard seeds
3-4 red dried chili peppers
5-6 curry leaves. Optional and can be substituted with any herbs. I like Dill and or Oregano
2 bay leaves
1 cup of unsweetened coconut powder/flakes
1. 5 cups of warm water
2 tbsf oil +1 tbsf oil for broiling fish.
salt and pepper to taste
Broil fish for 20 mins turning once. You can also shallow fry your fish.
In a pan, heat 2 tbsf oil. Add the garlic, cloves, bay leaf, curry leaves, whole mustard, onion, curry leaves and bell peppers and chili peppers. Fry for ~ 3-4 mins. Add the paprika and cumin. fry for no longer than a minute. Don't burn the lovely paprika! Add the pureed tomato juice. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the water and let it come up to a boil. Add the broiled/shallow fried fish and the coconut. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and let everything stew. 10 mins.
Serve over a bed of warm rice or with flat bread. A side garden salad helps :) And do not forget the rustic red wine to go with it. No white for this one
Happy eating and healthy living!