- I do not know whether I shall make this recipe any time soon but I do now that I shall definitely be using Rehana’s lemon condiment again – what a shame that a blog post can’t impart an aroma, let alone a taste !
This is Rehana:
She and I work at the same Wine Estate where clients can choose to do a pasta or a pizza class or just sit down to a nice lunch. It gets super busy at times as we serve the food and wine, and talk with and tend to the clients, with much to-ing and fro-ing between the kitchen and the dining halls. And we invariably talk about food and recipes in between, together with the chef, Luigi. Luigi lived in France for nine years and speaks brilliant French. Rehana is from Mauritius and speaks English as well as French. She lived in Lebanon for a while, before coming to Italy with her husband and family. My own family lived there too in the seventies, up until the ghastly civil war that started in 1975. Our clients hail from all over the world.
Despite the Winery’s being an uber-Italian establishment, and with good reason, the food talk very often skirts around non-Italian traditions and recipes. I don’t know where Rehanna picked up some Chinese recipes for instance but she has promised that we are going to cook some together one day. I want to find out more about her Mauritius cuisine, it sounds very intriguing.
Out of the blue, just the other day, she delights us all with a present of a small jar of condiment she had made.
Here is how she made it. She gets unwaxed lemons, cuts them in half and squeezes the juice out of them (the juice can be used for other preparations). She then stores the lemon halves in a jar filled with salted water, for about a month. At this point, she removes the pith, the inner white fibrous membrane directly below the zest. She then mashes what’s left – i.e. basically just the lemon rind – with fresh green chillis, garlic and a little bit of onion. And that’s it. The taste is explosive and tangy and incredibly more-ish.
Once home, I knew I was going to make some ‘baccalà’ – cod – for dinner in a tomato sauce I had made the day before, using fresh tomatoes, removing their skins and cooking them down. I also had some yellow courgettes/zucchine to play with.
Summer tomato sauce: i.e. a sauce made with fresh tomatoes, in the absence of which I suppose you could use some good quality plum tomatoes or a passata
Extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fillet of cod, courgettes/zucchine, basil, some toasted bread and Rehanna’s condiment of course.
I’d never had yellow courgettes before. Spoiler alert: they taste just the same as their green cousins. It was their cheery colour that attracted me.
I cut them so as to leave out as much of their pulp as possible.I sliced the cod into thick ‘chunks’.
Slices of toasted bread.
LET’S GET COOKING !
Here I am cooking the garlic in a puddle of oilve oil together with some basil and a teensy bit of fresh red chilli.
Not long later, I added the tomato sauce and sprinkled some salt.
I cooked the sauce for only a few minutes and then puréed it with an immersion blender.
I put the saucepan back on the fire and added the courgettes (sorry no photo) and let them cook for just a minute or two in the sauce.
I decided to be careful with Rehana’s condiment and added just one teaspoon at first.
But then I added another two … the sauce was mouth wateringly good at this point.
It takes hardly any time for the cod to cook. Meanwhile I had toasted the bread.
And here is how I served the cod – lots of delicious sauce to mop up, and some grapes for added sweetness and contrast.
Thank you Rehana !