Here, fruit and spices form a surprising sweet-and-sour sauce for fish. Chef Maziar Farivar likes to serve this dish with a simple saute of spinach.
MAKE AHEAD: You'll have sauce left over, which can be refrigerated in an airtight container for about 1 week. Adapted from a recipe by Farivar, chef-owner of Peacock Cafe in Georgetown.
For the sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, cut into thin slices (about 1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange (total of 1 tablespoon zest and 1/2 cup juice)
Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (total of 1 teaspoon zest and 1/4 cup juice)
Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime (total of 1 teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice)
3 cups water
Pinch saffron (optional)
1/3 cup dried apricots, cut into thin slices
1/3 cup dried figs, cut into halves or quarters
1/3 cup dried sour cherries
For the fish
Four 6-ounce skinless cod fillets, pinbones removed (may substitute any white-fleshed fish)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup roasted unsalted pistachios, coarsely ground or finely chopped
2 tablespoons sliced skinless almonds, toasted (NOTE)
For the sauce: Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for 3 minutes until the shallot is soft and translucent (do not caramelize).
Stir in the tomato paste; keep stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cinnamon, coriander and all the citrus zest, then add the water and all the citrus juices. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook (uncovered) for 20 minutes.
If desired, add the saffron. Stir in all the dried fruit. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to form a medium-thick sauce. Cover and reduce the heat to low; keep warm until ready to use. The yield is about 3 cups.
For the fish: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Place the fillets in the skillet, nicer sides down. Sear for one minute, then carefully turn them over. Use all the pistachios to evenly cover each seared fillet, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for 3 or 4 minutes, or to the desired degree of doneness.
To serve, spread some of the sauce on each plate. Place a pistachio-crusted fillet on top of each portion. Sprinkle toasted almonds around each plate. Serve right away.
NOTE: Toast the sliced almonds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, shaking the skillet to brown the nuts evenly without burning them. Let them cool completely before using.
NUTRITION Per serving: 220 calories, 33 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 260 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar