Pan Seared Red Reef Drum Fish Moroccan spiced eggplant, green chili coulis, marinated tomatoes, sweet and spicy fried almonds.

14 oz. Fresh Red Reef Drum (can substitute any firm flesh fish)
16 oz. Olive oil (for pan searing and roasting the eggplant, etc.)
1 ea. Eggplant (Black beauty)
½ cup Onion (small dice)
2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Moroccan Spice (recipe to follow)
1 Tbsp Turmeric
4 ea.  Jalapeño Peppers (for the green chili coulis)
1 tsp EVOO (for coulis and marinated tomatoes)
1 cup Grape Tomatoes (cut cross ways into rounds)
1 cup Slivered Almonds
½ cup Sugar water (for the sweet & spicy fried almonds)
1 cup Oil (for flash frying the almonds)
½ Tbsp Cayenne pepper (for spicing the almonds)
1 tsp Kosher Salt (for general seasoning)
2 ea. Lemons (for general seasoning and finishing)

Moroccan Spice:
¼ cup Cumin
¼ cup Coriander
¼ cup Paprika
2 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp Cinnamon
½ Tbsp Kosher Salt
½ Tbsp Black Pepper

Method of Preparation:
Prepare in advance the green chili coulis by simply de-seeding the jalapenos, quickly boiling in salted water, drain the water and puree in small food processor or blender with a touch of EVOO, refrigerate for final plating.

Moroccan Spice:
Prepare in advance by combining spices (I’ve increased the amounts of these spices so that you can keep some in your pantry, it’s delicious)

Pre-heat the oven to 400.
Cut eggplant lengthwise and score the flesh, season with oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking pan flat side down and roast until completely soft (about 20 minutes) and mushy. Remove from the oven and let stand at room temperature. Meanwhile sauté the onion in oil, add brown sugar, Moroccan spice and turmeric and allow to aromatize. Using a spoon, scrape the eggplant away from the skin and add it to the onion and spice mixture. Stir well to create a soft purée.

Sweet and Spicy Fried Almonds:
Prepare in advance by quickly boiling the almonds in sugar water comprising of ¼ cup water and ¼ cup sugar. Drain the almonds and quickly fry them in a little oil, drain them again and sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Lay out on paper towel and let stand at room temperature.

Each portion of fish is approximately 7 ounces, and cook through very quickly. Using a sauté pan over high heat and a little oil, sear the flesh side first then turn the skin side down and continue until crispy (about 2 minutes on each side to get the fish cooked through)

While the fish is cooking and all of the other components of this set are ready, mix the grape tomatoes with some EVOO and salt and lemon juice. This creates a very bright and refreshing finish to the dish.

Arrange the eggplant, fish, green chili coulis, tomatoes and almonds artfully on the serving dish, enjoy these bold flavors.