You may have a hard time wrapping your brain around pairing madras curry and olives, but if you think about it a moment, it really works. The French regularly use many of the ingredients that are in curry with olives—you’ve probably tasted the combination and not even known it. But you’ll see for yourself how well these potent ingredients harmonize in my Seared curried butterfish with warm olive chutney.
2 tablespoons madras curry powder
1/4 cup rice flour
4 pieces butterfish or other fatty white fish
3 shallots minced
1/2 cup mixed olives, pitted, minced
1 large tomato, 1/4-inch dice
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Canola oil for cooking
On a pie plate, combine the curry and rice flour. Season fish with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish fillets on both sides into the rice flour mixture. In a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat coated lightly with oil, sear the fish until golden, brown and delicious, about 8 minutes total. Remove fish and wipe out pan. In same pan coated lightly with oil, saute the shallots, then add olives, tomato and orange juice and heat through. Toss with cilantro and serve 1 heaping tablespoon over each fillet. Serve on banana leaf.
Chef Ming Tsai is a local restaurateur and host of Simply Ming.