It has finally arrived – that is my ordered copy of Persiana – Recipes from the Middle East & beyond by Sabrina Ghayour (Mitchell Beazley 2014).
Back in early July last year Amanda at Glamorous Glutton reviewed this book and told us about an event that she had been to with the author – I immediately knew I wanted this book, so sent off an email to my very good independent bookshop Beattie & Forbes in Napier.
In subsequent conversations, concerning this book, I was told it had to be ordered from Australia and that things from the particular
distributor can take a little while – ‘Fine’ I said and so started my wait which came to an end last week when I received an email
advising me that Persiana had arrived – I was so excited.
I picked it up after shopping at the Napier Urban Food Market on Saturday morning, then several things occurred which confirmed that I am meant to have this book:
- I got in the car, ripped off the wrapping and the book immediately fell open at the recipe for Bandari Monkfish Tails – we were on our way over the hill to Tangaroa Seafoods to buy fish! ‘Yum’ I said that’s what we are having for dinner – thinking I will use
whatever suitable fish they have.
- We arrive at Tangaroa Seafoods and the first fish I see as I walk in the door is monkfish!
- I had just purchased a beautiful bunch of organic coriander from JJ’s Organics at the market and could have also got dill (but
haven’t got the book at that stage – so didn’t!)
So you see what I mean – this is the only recipe I have cooked from Persiana so far, but it is so full recipes for the sort of food that I love I know it won’t be the last! And I am sure you will be seeing some of them in coming months.
This is beautiful book, filled with beautiful recipes – I have seen
several reviews for Persiana, but none have mentioned the beautiful cover – scattered across the embossed cover is a mix of spices and rose petals – the embossing makes the cover so tactile that I had fallen in love with Persiana before I had even opened it.
So a BIG thank you to Megan, Val and everyone at Beattie & Forbes for not giving up and this is why I support you.
Those who know me, know I love books. Particularly cook and food books and are aware of my rather extensive collection, so for me a good independent bookshop that goes the extra mile is essential.
And while I am aware that I could have got this by other means, where possible I will support local business so that they stay in
business and continue to add interest and vibrancy to our shopping areas.
The term Bandari signifies anything that comes from a port, but is
usually a reference to the southern port of Bandar Abbas in Iran. When applied to food, Bandari, indicates the use of spice in a dish. This simple fish dish is rubbed using a special spice mix made with fresh herbs and
aromatics that permeates the fish with a wonderful heady flavour.
Shirazi Salad (a cucumber, tomato and pomegranate salad – also in the book) is the perfect accompaniment to this dish.
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
2 fat garlic cloves, minced
5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and minced
handful of coriander, leaves picked and finely chopped
handful of dill, leaves picked and finely chopped
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp sea salt flakes
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 monkfish tails or loins, about 175-200g each, skinned and cleaned
1 Mix all the dry spices together in a bowl and add the garlic, ginger, fresh herbs, lime rind and juice, yogurt and a couple of
tablespoons of olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Stir well using a fork to break up any clumps of spices. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the spice paste to rest.
2 Place monkfish tails in a shallow dish. Give the spice paste a good stir and pour it over the fish. Use your hands to really work the paste into the fish, ensuring all sides get an even coating of the
mixture. Cover the dish with clingfilm and place it in the refrigerator for a maximum of 1 hour. Once marinated, remove from the
refrigerator and bring the fish to room temperature.
3 Preheat a frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the pan is nice and hot, drizzle a little olive oil into the pan. Gently lay the monkfish in the pan and cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side, or until opaque and firm. Transfer the monkfish tails from the pan to serving plates, leave to rest for 1-2 minutes, then serve with a little extra coriander sprinkled on top.
Rachel’s Notes: I have reproduce the recipe as it appears in Persiana, to give you an idea of how the book is written.
- I made this recipe pretty much as it is written here and the result was excellent.
- I didn’t have any fresh dill so used a bit extra coriander.
- Make Ahead: The spice paste could be mixed together earlier in the day.
- I served the fish with a simple salad of fresh tomatoes, red onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar and some mixed leaves.
Happy cooking and eating.
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