Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sayadia (Saya-whata?)

Hey y'all!
Hope everyone is having a rip-roaring birthday celebration for good old 'Murica. Being the increcibly lucky lady that I am, I headed up to Cape Cod a few days ago to spend some time with my family, and got to participate in one of my favorite past times- Fishing! Not sure if fishing is the most patriotic activity, but it's Cape Cod and it's a day on a boat, who can say no to that? It wasn't the most productive day of fishing, but we caught 1 big one, and when it comes to dinner, that's all that matters, amiright?

The purported "big one" was a striped bass, which, if you've never had, is pretty good eating. It's a meaty white fish, a bit of flake to it, but not like a flounder. With the nice fillet we got from the big fish, Mom and I decided it was a good opportunity to work on our Sayadia recipe...

"What the heck is Sayadia?" you are asking? That's why I'm posting this recipe! It's a very easy and flavorful fish-rice recipe that you can make all in one dish, (and it has been a little while since we visited Operation DATES [Developing a Taste for Eating Seafood]). So get yer fish out and let's get cooking!
We had about a 1.5-2 lb fillet of fish, and the first thing we did was cut the skin off the fillet, and cut the fish into large chunks (1-2 inch rectangular pieces). Season the fish chunks very liberally with cumin and salt (and throw a little allspice in there for good measure).
 Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and place the seasoned cubes of fish into the pan, cooking for about 2-3 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish) before flipping, and cooking for another 1-2 minutes on the reverse side. Set the fish aside. This recipe calls for pre-cooking the fish which helps to bring out the flavors. It's also usually a good idea to get the fish started cooking so that when the rice is cooked, and the liquid added is absorbed, you can stop the cooking and not worry about the fish being cooked through.


Dice up an onion, and heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a large cast iron pot. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes, turn the heat down to low and place the pre-cooked fish on the onions.
The rice comes next, and for the 1.5 lbs of fish, and 5 of us eating, we decided to do 1.5 cups of uncooked, white, long-grain rice, so we heated up 3 cups of water, and dissolved 1.5 bouillon cubes in the water. Pour the rice evenly over the fish and onions, then add the water slowly over top. Cover the pot and cook.

While the fish is cooking, and using the original pan that the fish was sauteed in, cook about a half an onion, sliced, until they are nicely browned and crispy. Check the pot with the fish and rice about 20 minutes in, and if it looks dry, add more liquid to the pot. Once the water is absorbed, about 30-40 minutes, you're done!
Now comes the 2-person part of the job. Let the dish sit for about 5-10 minutes, find a platter that fits over the top of the pot, hold it over the top, and (with a friend if it's a heavy cast-iron pot) flip the pot over so that the contents are transferred to the platter. In a small pan or a toaster oven, brown 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, sprinkle those and the cooked onions over the top, adorn the sides of the platter with lemon slices if you like, and serve!


If you're not sure about fish, this is a great way to try it because it's an easy recipe. You can use any type of fish, and the combination of the flavors and the rice are a really nice hearty main dish.

Special shout out to my mom, Lisa, who has been working on perfecting her recipe. No complaints here Mom! Thanks for the awesome weekend!


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