Morocco-Darjeeling Halibut

(Source: Cooking with Tea by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen)

A sunny fusion of flavours from two places on the same latitude yet miles apart, India and Morocco, dominate the mild taste of the halibut. The sweet/hot spices are utterly delicious and the soft muscatel Darjeeling exquisitely balances this dish.

Ingredients

2 pounds

halibut steak, bone in, 3 centimeters thick

1/2 teaspoon

coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons

fruity olive oil

1

large onion, thinly sliced

1 pound

fresh red tomatoes chopped

1

large lemon, thinly sliced

1 cup

dark raisins

3 grams

dried ground ginger

4 cloves

garlic, smashed and minced

2 grams

hot pepper powder (Moroccan, French piment d’Espelette, Hungarian hot paprika, or Italian hot pepper flakes)

1 liter

spring water

2 ounces

Darjeeling muscatel tea leaves

1/2 cup

lavender or clover honey

Directions

Wash and dry the fish. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Lightly coat an ovenproof (oven to table) baking dish with olive oil. Center the fish, onions, and tomatoes inside. Scatter lemon slices and raisins. Add the remaining spices to the dish. Brew the tea in water heated to 185 F for 5 minutes, then dissolve the honey in it. Pour all of it over the fish and bake, covered lightly with foil, for about 35 minutes or until fish begins to flake.

Carefully pour the braising liquid from the pan into a heavy 2-liter saucepan. Keep the fish warm, covered, in a 200F oven while reducing the liquid over high heat to a coating consistency. Uncover just before serving to allow the diners to inhale the heavenly aroma wafting from the dish. Divide the fish into equal pieces and sauce each. Perfect accompaniments are steamed butternut squash lightly seasoned with cinnamon and rice.

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