Morocco-Darjeeling Halibut
A sunny fusion of flavors 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.

2-pounds/1 kilogram halibut steak, bone in, about 1 inch/3 centimeters thick
1/2 teaspoon/3 grams coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon/3 grams freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons/30 milliliters fruitly oilive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 pound/500 grams fresh red, ripe tomatoes, skinned and seeded,
roughly chopped
1 large lemon, well washed, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 cup/140 grams dark raisins
1 teaspoon/3 grams dried ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon/2 grams ground allspice
4 cloves garlic, smashed then finely minced
1/2 teaspoon/2 grams hot pepper powder (Moroccan, French piment d'Espelette, Hungarian hot paprika, Aleppo pepper, or Italian hot
pepper flakes)
1 quart/1 liter spring water
4 tablespoons/2 ounces Darjeeling muscatel tea leaves
1/2 cup/115 milliliters lavendar or clover honey (the more fragrant
the better)

Wash and dry the fish. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Lightly coat an ovenproof (oven to table) 3-quart/3-liter baking dish with olive oil. Center the fish, onions, and tomatoes in the dish. Scatter lemon slices and raisins over all. Add the remaining spices to the dish. Brew the tea in water heated to 185 to 190°F/85 to 88°C 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 flakes easily when pierced with a fork.

Carefully pour the braising liquid from the pan into a heavy 2-quart/2-liter saucepan. Keep the fish warm, covered, in a 200°F/93°C 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 4 equal pieces and sauce each. Perfect accompaniments are steamed butternut squash lightly seasoned with cinnamon and fragrant basmati rice. Serves 4.

This recipe is part of the book Cooking with Tea by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen.
Photography by Sysan Bourgoin

Click here for printable version.


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