Wednesday, February 22, 2017

More cheap chic, as in more chickpea recipes: Part 3

Here they are again, the most useful, chic and always perfect meat of a meal: chickpeas, the little black dress of the kitchen. Put them on your table in these additional ways to pep up a grim February. And don't think even though this is part 3, that's all there is! You'd underestimate the power of a can of chickpeas in the cupboard.

English Mac and Chic
This is from the English cook Nigel Slater.
for 2 or maybe 3

3 tbsp olive oil
2 med onion, 1 chopped and 1 cut into very thin rings
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups (1 box) chopped tomatoes
1/2 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4-1/3 c macaroni or other small pasta
1 c light cream
1 small green chili pepper (jalapeno, Serrano) seeded and sliced into very thin strips

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over med heat until the onions start to brown, maybe 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, Aleppo pepper or crushed chili flakes, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, chopped tomatoes and salt and pepper to your taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.

Fill a pasta or soup pot halfway with water, bring it to a boil, heavily salt it and add the macaroni. Cook until tender. Time depends on your shape but probably 8-9 minutes. Drain.  Drain the chickpeas and rinse them. Stir them and the macaroni into the simmering tomato sauce and add the cream. Blend everything well. Remove the cinnamon stick, keep on low heat until serving.

In a small frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the sliced onion and green chili and cook over medium heat until they are crisp. Add the chopped parsley. Remove from heat. Serve by dividing the macaroni mix between 2 or 3 deep bowls and top with the fried onion mix.

Kazan Kabab: a Meat Stew with Chickpeas
I found this in a collection of recipes from one of the world's most fascinating places, at least for me:  the mysterious world of Samarkand, Tashkent and Bukhara. This bit of home-cooking from the rich Fergana Valley that includes Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is an easy and delicious way to taste it all.
serves 4

1 lb beef stew meat, cut in cubes
1 tbsp all purpose flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp ghee
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 cups strained tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
2 c beef broth or water
1  14 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained well
1 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp coarsely chopped basil leaves
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves or 1 tsp dried (Turkish would be most authentic) 
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 lemon, juice

Put the flour in a small bowl and toss the beef in it. Season the beef with salt and pepper while in the bowl. In a large heavy gauge casserole or Dutch oven, heat the ghee and brown the beef, in batches if necessary to have each piece touch the bottom of the pan. When it's browned, add the garlic, stir and cook 60 seconds. Add the tomato, bay leaf and 2 cups cold water or broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, voer the pan and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cook til the meat is tender. Stir in the chickpeas, herbs and lemon juice. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve with a sliced chili pepper to add at the table.

Turkish Chickpea Stew
serves 4 as a side, 3 as an entree

2 tbsp ghee or 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 sm red onions, halved and sliced into thin strips
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cumin seed, crushed with the back of a knife
1 tsp fennel seed
2 tsp ground Aleppo pepper
2 tsp sugar
2 14 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
14 oz chopped tomatoes (boxed or canned is fine)
1 sm bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 lb baby spinach leaves
salt and pepper to your taste
To serve: 1 lemon, the juice
1/4 c thick yogurt (4-5 tbsp)

In a medium size heavy pan, heat the ghee or oil/butter over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and spices and cook until the onions begin to brown. Lower heat if anything is burning. Stir in tomatoes and sugar. Add chickpeas and brown them lightly. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Heat thoroughly. Toss the spinach leaves on top, cover the pan, cut off the heat and let the leaves wilt in the steam, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the stew to a serving bowl, add the fresh lemon juice and serve with a dollop of yogurt for each person.

Spanish Chorizo with Chickpeas

 serves 4-6
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, as dry as possible
black pepper
4 oz. chorizo, diced
½ lb. spinach, roughly chopped
¼ cup sherry
1 to 2 cups bread crumbs

Heat the broiler.
Put 3 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold the chickpeas in one layer and get it hot over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until chickpeas begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add chorizo and continue to cook 5 - 8 minutes until chickpeas are crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chickpeas and chorizo from the pan and set aside.

Add the remainder of oil to the pan. When it’s hot, add the spinach and sherry, salt and pepper to your taste. Over med/low heat, cook spinach until it’s very soft and its liquid has evaporated. Put the chickpeas and chorizo back in the pan and toss quickly to combine everything. Top with breadcrumbs, drizzle with a bit of oil over them. Put the pan under the broiler for 30 seconds to lightly brown the top. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Chard and Chickpeas
serves 4-6
2 1/2 lbs chard, stemmed and chopped
4 tbsp good quality olive oil
1 med onion, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp Aleppo or chipotle chili powder
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c dark raisins or currants
2 c (15 oz can) cooked chickpeas, drained
1 lemon, cut in wedges

Put 2 c of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chard and push leaves into the water so they all cook evenly. Lower heat to low and cook until leaves are tender, 5-6 minutes.

In a medium skillet, warm the olive oil and over medium heat sauté the diced onion until it's translucent and soft, maybe 5 minutes. Don't burn. Stir in the tomato paste, then the cilantro leaves, Aleppo pepper, walnuts, chard, raisins, salt and black pepper to your taste. Blend well. Gently stir in the chickpeas and cook just until everything is hot. Serve with lemon wedges.

Persian Lamb in Bulgur with Chickpeas
 This can be made ahead and reheated.
serves at least 4

6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp corn, canola, safflower or any veg oil
3 med onions, diced
2 lbs lamb shanks, trimmed
2 c beef broth or water
1 1/2 c large bulgur, rinsed
2 c (15 oz can) cooked chickpeas
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste
To Serve: thick yogurt, chopped cilantro and tomato wedges

In a medium nonstick saucepan, melt butter. Add oil. Add onion and sauté over med/low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add lamb shanks. Roll them in the butter and brown them on all sides.
Add broth/water, bring to a boil. cover and reduce heat to med/low again. Cook 90 minutes or until meat is almost falling off the bone.  Remove the lamb to a cutting board. Remove the bones, trim off excess fat and cut the meat into bite-sized chunks.

Measure the liquid remaining in the saucepan and add enough water to have 2 3/4 cups liquid in the pan. Add bulgur, chickpeas, spices, salt and pepper, then the lamb. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to low, over and cook about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, keep covered and let it steam/rest 10 minutes.

Serve in a large bowl garnished with cilantro and lemon wedges and serve with a dollop of yogurt on top.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Now is the time for heartening, hip lentils

Warm your heart, fill your stomach, strengthen your body and brighten your day with all those long forgotten lentils. Protein in a coat of many colors: green, red, brown, black. Unsexy can be glamorous if you do it right. So here are a few worldly ways to jazz up a winter meal without bothering a bank account (they're cheap).

Armenian Red Lentil and Apricot Soup
serves 4-6
You can add lamb to this if you'd like to really rich it up.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, diced
1 lg carrot, diced
3 lg garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c (4 oz) dried apricots
1 tsp cumin seed
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 1/4 c boxed chopped tomatoes
2/3 c dried split red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp dried thyme leaves
1 lemon, juice only
1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste

Heat the vegetable broth so it's hot when you're ready to use it.
In a medium large heavy gauge soup pot or casserole, heat olive oil. Add onion and carrot and sauté about 8 minutes until they are softened and their sugars are released so they smell sweet. Add garlic, apricots and cumin seeds. Cook a minute then stir in the tomatoes. If using fresh, cook 5-8 minutes until they break down. If using boxed just cook until they are hot.
   Add the red lentils and hot veg broth, stir to blend, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover the pot and cook 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add thyme and lemon juice, stir to blend and remove the pot from heat.
   Put half the soup in a blender or food processor or a bowl with an immersion blender and puree this half of it. Return this to the pot, add salt and pepper and blend everything. Dish into bowls and top with the parsley.
Beluga Lentil and Celeriac Soup
This is from Veggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking
Serves 8

1 lb carrots
1 lg celeriac bulb
1 lg onion or 1 medium leek
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups vegetable broth
1½ cups water
1 tsp salt (more to your taste)
1 tsp freshly ground or cracked black pepper
¼ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp ground cardamom
½ cup half and half or light cream or evaporated milk for a thicker soup
1 cup cooked beluga lentils with 1/8 tsp salt
½ cup freshly chopped dill

Peel carrots and celeriac. Save the celeriac leaves for garnish if you’d like. Slice carrots into thin disks and chop celeriac into bite-sized pieces. Put in a large casserole or soup pot. Peel the onion or wash the leek. Coarsely chop whichever you are using and add to the pot. Add the thyme, celery seed, coriander, lemon juice, vegetable broth and water. Put over medium high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook 25-30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Puree the contents of the soup pot and return to the pot. Stir in salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cardamom and cream. Add the beluga lentils and taste for seasonings. Reheat uncovered on simmer for 8-10 minutes until it is just hot. Do not boil. Stir in the chopped dill to serve. You can top each bowl with a hot garlic bread crouton and the chopped celeriac leaves.

Tajikistan Green Lentils and Brown Rice with cheese
all the ingredients are native to Tajikistan
serves 4

1/4 c olive oil
1 med onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 med/lg carrot, peeled and diced
4 tomatoes, chopped or 1 1/4 c boxed chopped tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp ground allspice
1 c green lentils (use brown if you can't get green)
3/4 c brown rice, rinsed clear
2 bay leaves
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup crumbly white cheese (goat would be most authentic but use feta or queso fresco)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy gauge saucepan or medium soup pan or casserole, heat olive oil over medium. Add onion, celery, carrot and cook about 6-8 minutes until they soften. Add the tomatoes and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, cumin seed and allspice, stirring to blend. Add the lentils, rice and bay leaves.
Pour in the veg broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat to simmer, cover the pan and cook 30 minutes or until the brown rice is soft, checking from time to time that there is plenty of liquid. Add water if you need to. Check for seasoning.

While the soup cooks, make an herb paste to top it: in a small blender or chopper, combine 
6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c flat leaf parsley leaves
1/2 c cilantro leaves
1/2 c mint leaves (try something milder than spearmint. if spearmint use a bit less)
1 tbsp pistachio nut meats
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 
Salt and black pepper to your taste

Pour the soup in bowls, Top with the herb paste and then crumbled white cheese.

Green Lentils with Ethiopian Berbere spice
One of my all time favorites, especially with Berbere spiced chicken and blueberry chutney. What a feast!
serves 6
1 Cup french green lentils
3 C water
2 cups diced onions
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced tomato
2-3 T Berbere Spice Mix...see below**
1 tsp salt
2 T olive oil
Fresh Italian parsley

In a medium heavy bottom pot, or dutch oven, saute diced onion, carrots, garlic and ginger in 2 T olive oil, until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add 2-3 Tablespoons Berbere Spice mix and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup french green lentils, 1 cup diced tomatoes, 1 tsp salt and 3 cups water, bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low and let cook until al dente, about 30 minutes.

**This is my Valentine's Day gift: Berbere spice mix. Always have some ready to bling up anything.

2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1⁄2 tsp. black peppercorns
1⁄4 tsp. whole allspice
6 white cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
1⁄2 cup dried onion flakes
5 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed, seeded,
and broken into small pieces
3 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
In a small skillet, combine coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns, allspice, cardamom pods, and cloves. Toast spices over medium heat, swirling skillet constantly, until fragrant, about 4 minutes.
Let cool slightly; transfer to a spice grinder along with onion flakes and grind until fine. Add chilies, and grind with the other spices until fine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in paprika, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Add fresh garlic when using because I don't put in the garlic powder.

Syrian Harak Osbao: Brown Lentils with Macaroni 
I originally published this as Cooking for Syria but it's delicious enough to reprise.
serves 8 but you can half the recipe

¾ lb brown lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
2 c water
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
 tsp Aleppo pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 c mini macaroni
2 med red onions, peeled and cut into thin rings
3 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
½ bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 sm pomegranate, seeds only
1 lemon, juice freshly squeezed
freshly ground black pepper
IF YOU HAVE IT: 1 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh sumac

In a large saucepan or small soup pot, combine water and broth. Bring to a boil, add lentils and cook 20 minutes. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Blend in the pomegranate molasses, Aleppo pepper and salt. Blend in all but 1 tsp of the lemon juice.

While the lentils and macaroni cook, sauté the onion rings in 2 tbsp olive oil until soft and golden. Be careful not to burn. Remove with a slotted spoon and put in the minced garlic cloves. If needed, add the last tbsp. olive oil. When they start to brown—not burn, add the cilantro leaves, stir once and remove from heat. Add the sumac if you have it. Put the onions on top of the lentils and macaroni in the serving bowl, then the fried garlic. Top with chopped parsley and then the pomegranate seeds. Finish with the last tsp. of fresh lemon juice.

Hazelnuts, Celeriac and Puy Lentils by Ottolenghi

Serves 4
2 oz whole hazelnuts (skin on)
3/4 c Puy lentils
3 c veg broth or water
2 bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/4" small disks
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp hazelnut oil
3 tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar
4 tbsp chopped mint
salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 275º. Scatter the hazelnuts on a small baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Let them cool, then chop roughly.
In a small/medium saucepan combine the lentils, broth or water, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil, simmer 15–20 minutes, or until lentils al dente. Drain in a sieve.
Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, cook the celeriac in plenty of boiling salted water for 8–12 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.
In a large bowl mix the hot lentils with the olive oil, 2 tbsp of hazelnut oil, vinegar, some black pepper and plenty of salt. Add cooked celeriac and blend well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in half the mint and half the hazelnuts. Pile onto a serving dish or bowl and drizzle the remaining hazelnut oil on top. Garnish with the rest of the mint and hazelnuts.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hot Potato

It's deep in doldrums time, the Februaries, and relentlessly wet weather has dampened the array at farmers' markets. Good time to get back to our roots, and the most popular of them all: the potato. It doesn't have to be unloved and lowly; it can be quite a hot dish! Not just pretty, mind you, but nourishing and comforting.  Here are a few ways to go around the world and bring potatoes back to the table.

British Mashed Potato and Green Bean "Cake"
This is great for kids. Serves 6-8.

1 1/4lbs Yukon gold potatoes
1 lb green beans
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary leaves
½ c
Parmesan or Asiago cheese, grated
1 tbsp milk
3 tbsp good quality olive oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and black pepper
¼ tsp paprika (if you like a touch of heat, add 1/2 tsp ground Aleppo or Chipotle pepper)
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Fine breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350º. Scrub the potatoes and peel if that is your preference. Chop into large chunks, put in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook just until potatoes are tender. Drain and let cool. Meanwhile in another saucepan, bring salted water to a rolling boil, add green beans and cook just until they start to soften but haven’t lost color.  Drain the beans well, then chop into ½” pieces.  
Once the potatoes are cool, in a medium bowl, mash them or pass them through a ricer. Add milk, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt to your taste and blend. Add oregano, rosemary, paprika and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the cheese and eggs. Taste for salt and adjust.
Use 1 tbsp to oil an 7-8” cake tin, preferably with a removable bottom to make this easy. Dust the bottom with fine breadcrumbs. Fill it with the potato mixture and level the top. Hopefully it is even with the top of the pan. Sprinkle the nutmeg evenly across the top, then sprinkle 1-2 tbsp breadcrumbs and zigzag 1 tbsp olive oil over the whole thing.
Bake 50 minutes. The cake should be slightly puffed up and golden on top. Let it cool 20 minutes before running a spatula or knife around the edge and turning it out onto a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Azerbaijan Cinnamon Potatoes with Pine Nuts
serves 4
1 1/4 lbs baby potatoes (golf ball size)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 med onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp crushed chili flakes
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Select a pan wide enough to hold the potatoes in a single, snug layer.
Melt the butter in it, add onion and pine nuts and sauté a few minutes over medium heat until golden.
Don't burn. Add the spices and cook 1 minute before adding the potatoes in one layer. Add enough cold water to half cover the potatoes. Season with the molasses, salt and pepper to your taste. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer and braise. After about 10 minutes it's best to turn the potatoes if you can. They should be tender in 20. When they are, remove the lid, increase heat to high and boil off any liquid still in the pan. The butter should sizzle and lightly caramelize the onions and potatoes. Serve hot. 

Bhutanese Potatoes with Chili and Cheese

4 med red skinned potatoes not for baking (about 1½ - 2 lbs)
10 oz soft white cheese (farmers’ cheese, feta, queso fresco, fromage blanc) crumbled or grated
1 lg red onions coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves thinly sliced lengthwise
1 Serrano or small jalapeno chili, seeds removed, sliced into very thin strips (If you like fire, you can use a red chili because the Bhutanese do)
1 lg tomato chopped (or ½ c boxed chopped tomatoes)
1-2 tbsp corn or canola, safflower, or mustard oil
1 tsp salt
Water or optionally 1½ c veg broth 
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro

Chop potatoes into bite sized chunks.
In a sauté pan or med saucepan, heat the oil over medium flame. Add the onion, garlic, chili and stir fry 1 minute to soften. Add the potatoes, tomato and salt.  Stir to blend. Add 1½ c water or veg broth if you prefer. Cook over medium/low heat until potatoes are soft. Add liquid if necessary to prevent sticking. You don’t want a soupy final dish. As soon as the potatoes feel soft, toss in the cheese, mix well and turn off the heat. The cheese should melt all over the potatoes. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

Italian Potato and Pumpkin Frittata 
serves 4-6
1 white onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1 large potato (just under 1 lb)
1¼ lb sugar pumpkin or butternut squash
¼ c olive oil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped, or 1 tsp dried
Salt and black pepper
8 eggs
¼ c grated cheese (Parmesan, Asiago, Gruyere, Jack—your choice)

Peel the pumpkin or squash and cut it into thin rings or half rings or failing that, strips.
In a medium frying pan with a lid, heat olive oil and sauté onion for 2 minutes. Add the potato and pumpkin, stirring until each slice is glistening with some oil. Cover the pan, lower the heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally-- if sticking occurs, add a little water, until the vegetables are soft.  Add sage, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook uncovered another minute. Scrape the pan contents into a bowl.
Preheat oven to 375º.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with salt and pepper. Melt enough butter to fully cover the bottom of the pan you cooked the potatoes in. Pour the vegetables pack into the pan and pour the eggs in with them. Stir until the eggs begin to coagulate. Cook the frittata over a low heat about 10 minutes. As the edges start to set, use a spatula to ease them away from the pan sides back into the frittata. Once the frittata is almost entirely set and still has a wobbly top, toss on the grated cheese. Remove from stove top and stick into the oven for 3-5 minutes, until cheese melts and egg top is firm.  
Cut in wedges to serve, warm or at room temperature.

Caucasian Melting Potatoes with Dill
serves 4
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 med onions, sliced into thin rings
1 1/4 lbs small(1-1 1/4" wide) waxy potatoes, cut into 1/2" thick disks
3 garlic cloves, sliced into very thin strips
salt to your taste
1 tsp freshly ground/cracked black pepper
1/4 c chopped dill fronds

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add onions and cook slowly until they are soft and golden, maybe 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic. Carefully blend them into the onions so they glisten from the buttery oil. Season with salt and cover tightly (a lid or tin foil). Reduce heat to lowest simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks.  Add the black pepper and dill and serve immediately.

Fisherman's Soup from Crete
Serves 4
2 1/4 lbs medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 turbot or similar white (around 4 1/2 lbs), scaled, gutted and cut into 5 pieces 

3/4 lb tomatoes, chopped
2 celery sticks
4 bay leaves
2 c extra virgin olive oil
3 c water
Juice of 2 lemons
Parsley leaves
4 langoustines, crayfish or prawns
Use a saucepan that will fit the potatoes snugly in a single layer at the bottom of the pan. Once they are placed, add the fish, followed by the tomatoes, celery, bay leaves, salt, olive oil and water. The liquid will partly cover the fish, but not entirely.  Put the saucepan over a high heat and bring to a boil. Cover and continue to boil 20 minutes. Shake the pan every so often, but never stir the contents. Before you turn the soup off, make sure the potatoes are soft. Add the lemon juice and parsley leaves, then give the pan a final shake. Turn off the heat. Add the shellfish and let the soup sit 15 minutes before serving.
To serve, use a slotted spoon to very carefully transfer the fish to a platter. Remove any bones. Divide the soup and potatoes into 4 bowls. Add one shellfish and a piece of the white fish to each. Serve with toasted sourdough bread.

Nepali Potatoes with Sesame
serves 4-5

4 medium potatoes (any you might use for potato salad)
½ cup sesame seeds
1 tsp. chili powder
2 ½ lemons, juice only
2 tbsp. cooking oil (mustard, canola, corn, safflower)
4 green chilies, stemmed
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1 tsp. ground tumeric
1 tbsp. salt
pinch of lemon verbena leaves if you have them
½ cup water
¼ bunch fresh cilantro, leaves only

Peel the potatoes and boil in salted water until tender. Drain. Cool and cube.
Dry roast the sesame seeds over medium heat in a small nonstick fry pan. Cool and grind.  Mix with the lemon juice and salt. Stir into the potatoes.

Slice the chilies into thin strips. In a small wok or frying pan, heat the oil. Add the chilies and fry until they are soft. Stir in the fenugreek seeds and fry until they turn dark brown. Stir in the chili powder, lemon verbena and tumeric. Remove from heat.  Pour the pan contents over the potatoes and blend. Stir in the water to blend everything evenly. Chop the cilantro leaves and add as garnish. This is normally served at room temperature like a potato salad.