Like most of you, we've spent the last few weeks holed up in our home. Worrying about our loved ones. Worrying about all the essential workers who risk their lives to keep us safe. Worrying about all the people, around the world, whose lives have been riven by grief and economic hardship. This is not the spring any of us imagined.
But that doesn't mean it can't have its silver linings. In my family, we made a pact: to treat each other more kindly, to be more patient, to make our time together count, and to find ways to grow. In that spirit, my wife Nicole and I have started cooking together, which is harder than it sounds given how tyrannical I can be in the kitchen.
This bold, brightly flavored cod recipe is where we started. It was happy-dance delicious and for a moment transported us to a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. We returned to our home, and the third week of lockdown, to do the dishes.
By the way, if you happen to live in Brooklyn, you should try our new favorite fish supplier, Pierless Fish. They use to distribute exclusive to high-end restaurants, but they're now delivering directly to people's doors. Some of the freshest, most delicious fish we've ever had. Be kind, be safe, and enjoy the small things.
In the beauty pageant of food names, "chraimeh" competes hard for last place. The "chr" is like a prelude to a spit, the "ai" a stubbing of the toe, and the "meh" a resignation without protest.
But don't let the name fool you. Chraimeh is one of the most boldly flavorful fish preparations you'll ever encounter. A North African dish that traces its origins to Sephardic Jewish cuisine in Libya, it combines the pungency of caraway and cumin, the heat of chiles, the sweetness of paprika and tomato paste, and the bite of lemon juice and garlic. The name is an agony, the flavor a revelation.
We cooked it here with swordfish steaks but other fish steaks, like salmon or halibut, will work just as well. Unlike most fish dishes, it's also easy to make ahead, and can be served either hot or just warm. Couple it with bread for a hearty appetizer or with rice for a main course.