This relish of sweet red peppers, tomatoes, onions and habanero chile is reminiscent of an essential Nigerian stew known in Yoruba as obe ata, and used as a base sauce for braising meats or leafy greens, simmering seafood and ladling over cooked starches. This recipe uses the piquant, fiery relish to enliven mild white fish and leafy greens. A high-temperature broil gives everything a nice char, and a cilantro-lime finish adds brightness to the generous variety of flavors.
Fish with chard and spicy red pepper relish
Ingredients for the relish:
• 1 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (about 2 whole, drained from a jar)
• 1 small red onion, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
• 1 habanero pepper, stemmed and seeds left in
• 1/4 cup grapeseed oil, plus more for drizzling
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
• Kosher salt
Ingredients for the fish:
• 4 (5to 6-ounce) skin-on filets (black or striped bass, snapper or croaker)
• Kosher salt
• 1 1/4 pounds rainbow Swiss chard (about 2 bunches), torn into 3-inch pieces, tough stems removed
• 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other neutral oil, plus more for drizzling
• 1 tablespoon lime zest
• 3 tablespoons lime juice (from about 2 limes)
• 1/4 cup torn cilantro leaves Directions:
Make the red pepper relish: Combine red peppers, onion, garlic, ginger and habanero pepper in a food processor. Pulse into a coarsely chopped purée. (You can also finely mince the ingredients with a sharp knife.)
In a shallow medium sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add the turmeric, and toast until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the relish and crushed tomato, and bring up to a simmer.
Allow the relish to simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened to a paste and turns a shade darker in color, about 15-18 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste.
Prepare the fish: Set the oven to broil. Using a sharp knife, score the skin side of the filets by making two parallel cuts across the width. Be careful not to cut all the way through the flesh.
Place the filets on a large rimmed baking sheet, and season both sides with salt. Using a spoon or gloved hands, spread 1 cup of the relish generously over both sides of each filet, working the marinade into the cuts.
Scatter the chard around the edges of the filets on the pan, tucking a few pieces under the fish. Drizzle the filets and chard with oil, and then season with more salt.
Broil until fish is charred in spots, cooked through and the chard is starting to wilt and brown, about 6-8 minutes.
As the fish cooks, make a quick dressing: Combine the remaining relish, lime zest, juice and 1/4 cup oil. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and scatter the torn cilantro over the fish and chard. Spoon the dressing over everything.
Serve fish with any leftover dressing on the side.
Total time: 35 minutes, serves 4.
The relish can be made in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.
If you can, marinate the fish filets overnight. Serve this with steamed rice, millet or fonio.
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