I found out last Tuesday was Persian New Year from a client at work. She knows I love food, so she was describing to me this traditional dish they eat for the celebration every year. It sounded so delicious, I knew I had to try it.
Since I generally plan my menus out a week in advance, I am a week late to celebrate the Persian New Year, so I hope you will forgive me. This dish was really amazing, and was something I don't know that I would have put together on my own. I was apprehensive that the rice would cook completely, and then a little frightened it might over cook, but it came out perfectly. I cut down the portion size, because every version I found when researching this made enough to feed a crowd (which would make sense, as it is for a celebration). I also added a little more salt, for our palate it needed it.
Persian Herbed Rice and Fish(Sabzi Polo Mahi)
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup chopped chives or scallions
3/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh dill
3/4 cups coursely chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablesppons hot water
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 whole leeks, washed and sliced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 6 ounce filets white fish (tilapia or orange roughy will work)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Sliced lemon for garnish
Rinse rice thoroughly with water. Mix together the chives or scallions, dill, parsley and cilantro. Bring 4 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil in large non stick pot. Add the rice, and boil for 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse thoroughly with warm water. Using the same pot, heat half the butter and half of the saffron mixture. Start with a layer of rice on the bottom of the pan, and then add a layer of the chopped herbs, a layer of leeks, and some garlic. Repeat the process three times, ending with herbs. Remember to salt each later as well. Top with remaining butter and saffron, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place a lid on the pot, and a towel over the top to prevent any steam from escaping. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer for 50 minutes.
During the last 10 minutes of cooking, heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan. Generously salt and pepper your fish, and place in pan. Cook approximately 4 minutes per side, until lightly golden brown. Serve fish on top of rice, and garnish with lemon