THE Dish: Floyd Cardoz's Indian-American cuisine

(CBS News) NEW YORK - Celebrity chef Floyd Cardoz is a native of Bombay, India, where he planned to become a doctor - until he read the Arthur Hailey novel, "Hotel."

He was completely fascinated by the business, and enrolled in a hotel management college in Bombay, where he discovered his skill and interest in food during a kitchen rotation.

That marked the start of a culinary career that led to Floyd winning season three of Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" last year.

He's a partner and executive chef at the recently-opened red-hot "North End Grill" in Manhattan, where Floyd departs from his usual fare, which leans toward more traditional Indian cuisine, and instead puts his spin on an American-style bar and grill, with dishes such as Grilled Red Snapper, aged rib eye steaks and Seared Sea Scallop with Cauliflower.

In 2006, Floyd co-authored the cookbook "One Spice, Two Spice: American Food, Indian Flavors."

He also loves fishing.

On "CBS This Morning: Saturday," Floyd offered the recipe for his ultimate dish: Rice-Flaked Halibut with Watermelon Curry.

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Blog: "What's Cooking"
Special section: Food and Wine

RECIPES

Rice-Flaked Crisped Halibut on Watercress with Watermelon Curry

Serves: 6

For the curry

Ingredients:

  • A 4-pound piece seedless watermelon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1/2 tablespoon extra for finishing dish
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil

Method:

1. Cut enough watermelon flesh into 1/2 inch cubes to yield 3 cups of fruit and set aside. Put the trimmings (but not the rind) in a blender along with the rest of the melon, coarsely chopped, and any juice from the cutting board. Blend until smooth to make watermelon juice (you should have about 3 cups.)

2. Grind coriander seeds with Aleppo pepper in an electric spice/coffee grinder.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy 1-quart pot over moderate heat until shimmering. Cook the cumin seeds, stirring constantly, until they bloom and are fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Reduce the heat to moderately low and add the garlic, ginger, and ground spices. Cook until the garlic is softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly so that the garlic doesn't take on color. Add the turmeric and cayenne and cook for a few seconds more, stirring.

5. Add the watermelon juice and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1-1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. The curry can be made up to this point 1 day in advance and chilled, covered.

6. Season the curry with salt and lime juice.

For the Lime Relish:

Ingredients:

  • 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chives, finely sliced

Method:

1. Remove the zest from the limes with a zester (be careful not to include any of the white pith -- the spongy inner layer of the rind), and put in a small bowl. Add the oil immediately, then stir in the cilantro and chives.

2. Cut the sections out of the limes as you would from a grapefruit, then cut each section into thirds. Squeeze out any remaining juice from the membranes into the zest mixture, and stir in the lime sections.

For the Halibut:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup rice flakes or crushed unsweetened puffed rice cereal
  • 6 6-oz. pieces skinless halibut fillet (3/4 to 1-inch thick)
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 cups loosely-packed watercress, tough stems discarded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Beat together the egg, flour, salt, and pepper with a fork in a small bowl to make an egg wash and pour the rice flakes into a medium bowl.

3. Working with 1 halibut piece at a time, generously brush the skinned side with egg wash to coat and gently dredge the coated side in rice flakes. The fish can be coated 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered with plastic wrap.

4. Sprinkle the halibut with salt and freshly ground pepper

5. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in an ovenproof skillet over moderately high heat until shimmering, then add half of the halibut, coated sides down. Cook the fish without turning, until the coating is golden brown, about 1-1/2 minutes.

6. Turn the halibut coating-side up and roast in the middle of the oven for 2 to 4 minutes, or until firm and just cooked through. Transfer fish to a platter and loosely cover with foil to keep warm. Cook the remaining fish in the same way.

To finish the dish:

1. While the second batch of halibut is roasting, reheat the watermelon curry over low heat and keep warm.

2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil over moderately high heat and saute the reserved watermelon cubes, stirring, until they are warm, for about 2 minutes. Add the curry and continue to saute, until warmed through, stirring carefully so that the watermelon cubes don't fall apart, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Season the curry with salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste.

3. Arrange the watercress on a platter and spoon the curry over it. Top with the halibut and lime relish and drizzle with lime juice.

For more of Floyd's recipes, go to Page 2.

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