Hello to all my long lost fellow cyber chefs. I apologize for the very long absence from the blog, but unfortunately my struggle with my migraine headaches took much longer (a full two years fighting) than I had anticipated. Luckily, thanks to what my husband and I refer to as my “miracle drug,” I am just now starting to put my life back together, and part of that includes picking the blog up again. So thank you to my loyal readers who have stuck with me, and welcome to those of you who have signed on during my silence. Hopefully you will all enjoy the new posts to come.
And I hope you especially enjoy this particular dish – I think I have chosen a good one to start with. This recipe comes from the most recent issue of Bon Appetit – from their “Fast, Easy, Fresh” section. For those of you not familiar with the magazine, every month they designate a couple of pages to “every day” recipes that you can prepare quickly that are relatively healthy. This section is what I consider to be the unsung hero of the magazine. The flashy cover stories, the big photo spreads and the recipes featuring exotic ingredients are fun, but some of my best go-to meals have come from “Fast, Easy, Fresh.” So if you are a BA reader, don’t skip over this section next time (as I admit, I used to do). Instead, give the recipes a close read and see that several of them are very enticing, especially when they are offering exactly what the category promises – meals that are “Fast, Easy, Fresh.”
This particular dish caught my eye and I decided to give it a go – especially since I do not tend to cook much Asian food. So off to the grocery store I went to collect what I needed (which I am happy to report is not many ingredients), and home I came to give it a try. Again, not cooking much Asian, I really wasn’t all that confident, but this recipe does not disappoint. A clean, light sauce is anchored with coconut milk and lime juice. Fresh ginger as well as a red curry paste help to round out the flavors and give a great depth to the sauce that only takes 5 minutes to simmer. (Red curry paste is a combination of Thai spices and flavors such as red chili, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. It does not add heat, but does add a lot of flavor without having to measure out each of the individual ingredients. It can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores, I used Thai Kitchen’s brand.) Once the sauce has simmered, the cubed halibut and shrimp are added to the pan and cook in the sauce for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add a good handful of chopped cilantro and basil and some fresh lime wedges and you’re done. It looked beautiful, smelled fantastic, and we were not disappointed when we took our first bite. Sweet from the coconut, but not too sweet because of the lime, a little kick from the ginger, freshness from the herbs – the flavors blended beautifully and delicately coated the seafood. Each bite was perfectly balanced. And to think the dish is healthy to boot!
I was very pleased with the recipe all around with one exception: The recipe suggested that the curry be served over jasmine rice. To be honest, if I wasn’t planning on blogging about the dish, I most likely would have just plunked some good ol’ white rice on a plate and called it a day (it’s already in my pantry – like I said, not much Asian cooking going on in this house.) I was still pretty sure I was going to go the white rice route up until I was in the grocery store, standing in the Asian isle, and then the rices were just staring at me, making me feel guilty. So, of course, over-achiever-me bought the bag of jasmine rice and figured we would have the entire culinary experience for dinner. (In the back of my mind, though, I was thinking, “how different can rice really be?”) So I got the rice home, went to throw on the pot of water and had the forethought to check the bag to make sure there wasn’t some sort of different cooking instructions for jasmine rice. (Learned this lesson the hard way the first time I cooked brown rice at home – its 2x the cooking time of white rice – we ate late that night.) Good thing I checked, because the bag claims a 40 min cooking time for jasmine rice as well. So, that pretty much nixes the whole “fast” part of the “Fast, Easy, Fresh” thing, but I will have to say, the rice smelled fantastic the entire time it was cooking – the whole house smelled like a Thai restaurant, and it did have a distinctly different flavor. It is much stickier than the white rice I am used to serving, so that takes some getting used to (error on my part?) but I would actually consider suggesting that its worth making the jasmine rice. All in all, I would consider the recipe a great success and it is being filed away with some of our favorites. I am not sure I would necessarily consider it a weeknight meal, but a good treat nonetheless.
Recipe: Thai Shrimp Halibut Curry