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    Padma Gets Spicy
    Padma Gets Spicy
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    Padma Spices it up

    The name " Padma" was like a prayer on the lips of Miamians during the weekend of the Miami Book Fair International. She was in Miami for one night and one day to promote her new cookbook, Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet.

    "Padma is coming for dinner tomorrow night" said the general manager of the Raleigh Hotel restaurant when I went there for lunch.

    "Padma is having a book party and they’re making the boiled peanuts recipe from her book."

    "Did you hear? Padma's coming."

    Padma. Her name easily falls off the tongue and with it an immediate association to her long flowing brown hair, her sylph-like frame, and her honey-coated voice that dispenses Top Chef contestants with a swift "Pack your knives and go." Top Chef is the wildly popular chef reality series on Bravo that she co-hosts. The departed never seem to mind that much she gave them the axe: male contestants crush on her and female contestants can't bring themselves to hate her.

    Being neither a chef nor Top Chef contestant, I didn't know what to expect from this media sensation. I had just received her book a few days before we were scheduled to meet and one evening, at my hotel's grill on the bay, by candlelight, I poured through the glossy pages of Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet.

    Laced with vignettes of an international childhood and intimate memories of a life in food . . .

    Pan-Seared Flounder in Chipotle Yogurt Sauce

    Padma says:
    I like flounder for this recipe because it's a mild-tasting fish that soaks up the flavors of the sauce perfectly, but use any white fish you please. The yogurt serves as an excellent sauce base for the fiery chipotle peppers, and the dates give the dish an edge of sweetness that is simply delightful. You can also mix this sauce with some boiled potatoes for a creamy potato salad that is lighter than one made with mayonnaise only. This sauce also works well with pan-seared chicken breasts.

    1 ½ cups plain full-fat yogurt (non-fat is fine, too)
    1/8 cup light mayonnaise
    ¼ cup Chipotle and Date Chutney
    1/8 cup chopped chives
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    ¼ cup chopped shallots
    1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
    2 ½ pounds flounder fillets

    Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, chutney, chives, and salt

    In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and ginger. After a few minutes, when the shallots have softened, lay the fish in the pan. Cook each fillet for 2 minutes on each side, taking care when flipping the fish to keep the fillets whole.

    Before the fish is done, pour the yogurt sauce into the pan and simmer just until the sauce is heated through. Do not let it boil. Serve straight from pan to plate.

    Serves 4-6


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