June 28, 2005

Two sauces

Friday night, I tried a fish recipe from the Cafe Pasquales cookbook. (Pasquales is a Santa Fe institution, and in recent years their cooking has been extremely interesting). It was an interesting dish because it has two sauces and uses them to really good effect.

On the plate, we have a crema that starts with 1T each of cumin and coriander seed, roasted in a very hot dry pan until brown and smoky and then mixed with 8oz yogurt, some lemon juice, and some cilantro. The book called for a couple of cloves of minced garlic; I went with six cloves of mexican-roasted garlic instead.

On top of the crema , we nestle a piece of mackerel, crusted with lots of oregano, salt, sugar, and pepper, and cooked 5 minutes/side in a very hot, oiled pan.

On the mackerel, we have a salsa -- essentially a home-made one-egg mayonnaise -- with lemon, a clove of garlic and some chipotle.

I expected this to be fussy, but it's really good. The salsa on the bottom with its toasted/burnt spices gives the fish a solid, smoky foundation, with hints of sweetness and smoke. The fish can be sauteed aggressively but doesn't need a lot of aggressive spice. The crema gives it bright notes and spice.