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smoky, moody, and deep masgouf

Ingredients

slow-roasting the tomatoes:
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
14 ounces of whole black tomatoes (or garden variety red tomatoes), about 2 large tomatoes

marinating the fish:
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
10 to 12 ounces of white, lean fish fillets (about 1 big or 2 small fillets) *

grilling the fish:

marinated fish (above)
roast tomatoes (above)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onions (fill a quarter cup halfway)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch salt
Optional: 1 teaspoon minced parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Slow roast the tomatoes: Pre-heat the oven to 325° F.
  2. Combine the curry, thyme, paprika, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Do not remove the stems or hull the tomatoes. Simply slice the tomatoes in half, cutting from one side to the other, rather than cutting from stem to end. Try to make your cut as level and horizontal as possible.
  4. Coat the tomatoes in the oil-spice mixture and place the tomatoes cut-side-up on a roasting pan (optionally, using a silicone mat will help you remove them later).
  5. Slow-roast the tomatoes in the oven, checking every 30 minutes to make sure they are not burning. ** If the tomatoes seem to be browning very quickly early on, turn the heat down to 300° F and be prepared to cook them longer. The tomatoes are done once they have have shrunk significantly, browned nicely, and no longer ooze juice. This will take between 2 to 4 hours, depending on the tomatoes’ size and sugar content, and can be done up to 3 days ahed of time, and kept in the refrigerator.
  6. Once the tomatoes are done, remove the stems and use kitchen shears to snip away any burnt bits.
  7. Marinate the fish: Add the lemon juice, curry powder, thyme, paprika, olive oil, and salt to a large ziplock bag, seal the bag and mix everything around by squeezing the bag a few times.
  8. Pat the fish dry with paper towels, and place it in the bag with the marinade. Squeeze the bag to evenly coat the fish in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 4 hours if you want to make it ahead).
  9. Grill the fish: Once the fish has marinaded, preheat the grill to medium-high. If you’re baking, pre-heat the oven to 425° F.
  10. To assemble the onion topping: combine the red onions, lemon juice, curry powder, thyme, paprika, and salt.
  11. Take the fish from the marinade, do not pat it dry, and place it on a grill-safe tray (with a rim if you’re using the oven).
  12. Top the fish with the roast tomatoes, followed by the onion topping. Bake or grill (with the lid down) for 2 minutes and then check on the masgouf. Loosely tent the fish with foil if the tomatoes are browning too quickly, or leave it untented and continue to check on it every few minutes.
  13. Continue to grill or bake until the fish is flaky. Cooking times vary, depending on the shape and size of your fish and the particular quirks of your grill, but you can count on at least 10 minutes on the grill (or at least 15 minutes in the oven).
  14. Garnish with minced parsley and serve immediately.

Notes

* Catfish is pictured, but you could use tilapia, cod, carp, branzino, or any other similar fish.

** Don’t worry if any runaway drippings start to burn.