In desperate need to cool down, we packed our bags and headed an hour and half from the city to Mohonk Mountain House. Trees and mountains towered over us offering up the best cooling system mother nature offers, the lake provided for some lazy afternoon boating and the swimming pool felt like it was built in a tree house.
After a day of hiking, swimming, my appetite would get ahead of me. And what awaited like a loving mother, was a spread of dishes. Mohonk Mountain sources it’s ingredients from neighboring farms and my palate got to gage why eating locally makes all the difference. But Executive Chef Palmeri is not one to rely on good ingredients to do all the talking. The dishes hint at his story, his travels and his culinary adventures. Need some extra heat at your table and out comes a plate with not just jalapenos but also thai birds eye chili. What’s that mysterious smokiness in the sautéed potatoes? Hmm, perhaps cumin.
Chef Palmeri shared the recipe for his halibut curry. It was delicate and subtle enough to appreciate all those beautiful ingredients with a suggestion at something exotic.
Chef Palmeri’s Halibut Curry
2 large Okinawa purple potatoes (or substitute with sweet potato)
1 tablespoon oil
¼ cup Curry leaves (if you can’t find curry leaves at your local ethnic store, substitute with curry ½ tsp. curry powder and leave out asafetida and turmeric)
1 tablespoon green onions
Pinch of asafetida
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 finely chopped green chili (adjust to taste)
½ ea. Julienned onion
1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
¼ cup Green peas
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 heads Blanched cauliflower – chopped
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 cup Vegetable broth
1 ea. 7 oz piece of Alaskan halibut
1 tablespoon oil
Cilantro for garnish
Salt and white pepper as needed
2) Peel and chop the potatoes in small pieces.
3) Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil. If it cracks right away, the oil is ready.
4) Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and asafetida. As the seeds crack, add turmeric, green chili, curry leaves, sliced onions and salt.
5) Stir-fry for a few minutes, add the cauliflower lemon juice, cilantro and peas.
Add vegetable broth and let reduce to the proper consistency
1) Heat oil in sauté pan
2) Season fish with salt and white pepper, sear and cook until desired doneness
3) Serve halibut over the potato curry
Saira Malhotra, is of British–Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: www.passportpantry.com where she shares approachable and international recipes