Baked fish and rice with date sauce

August 17, 2011

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Serves 4

2 cups long-grain white rice
4 1/2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil (for the pan and for sprinkling)
2 pounds skinless boneless fish (striped bass, bluefish, hake, halibut, pollock)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1. In a large saucepan, combine the rice, 4 cups of water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, stir, and lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 17 minutes or until the rice is tender when you taste some grains. Add more water during cooking, if necessary. Set aside, still covered.

2. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

3. Sprinkle the fish with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set the fish in the baking dish, tucking any thin ends under the thicker parts. Cover with parchment paper. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.

4. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 6 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and continue to cook, stirring for 1 minute.

5. Add the garlic, dates, nuts, coriander seeds, pomegranate syrup, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and remaining 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

6. Arrange the fish and rice on each of 4 plates. Add date sauce on the side. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Adapted from Nawal Nasrallah