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Foodie In Training

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I like spices

Ok, remember that post where I vowed to be more bold? Well, I've taken that to heart and really tried to order dishes at restaurants that really catch my attention and are different than the things I normally order. I've also been a lot bolder when it comes to spices. My dinner tonight was definitely bold and very different for me. I was leafing through another issue of Cooking Light and I found Coconut-Chile Snapper with a Caribbean bean puree. I was very intrigued by the recipe ingredients and the Caribbean bean puree..the fact that black beans and banana was on the same ingredient list was really interesting to me so I decided I had to try it. Normally, any dish with jalapenos, I veto it, but this dish was really not that spicy for me. It was more of an underlying heat and a level of flavor than crazy-spicy-sweating-eyes watering spicy.
This was another dish I made for one so I had to adjust the amount of each ingredient. If you know me, you know I'm not good with numbers, so I think the consistency of coconut chili sauce was a little different, but all in all it turned out really wonderful.
I started by mincing shallots and then adding them to a sauce pan with a clove of minced garlic. After that softened I added thinly sliced bananas and let that saute for a minute or two. The smell was actually amazing at this point with the sweetness of the banana and savory smell of the garlic and shallots. When that was softened I added black beans, vegetable broth, lime juice and cumin and salt. I covered the saute pan and let that simmer until all of the liquid was absorbed. (Just so you know I'm not being specific about measurements for the ingredients, because I really eyeballed it and measured it out for one person). When that was finished I poured that in to the food processor and pureed it up! It doesn't look appetizing but it tasted amazing. The sweetness of the banana combined with the garlic really worked together and the hint of lime juice made it really pop. According to the article in the magazine, the sweetness of the puree is supposed to compliment the spice in the fish and it really did.After the puree I started on the fish which did not take much time at all. Even though the recipe called for snapper, they did not have any at the grocery store so I bought tilapia instead still worked great with the ingredients. I combined coconut milk, shredded carrot, minced jalapeno, chili powder and salt in to a sauce pan and brought it to a simmer. Once it was simmering I added the fish and covered the pan and let it cook for about 10 minutes. I realized later that I should have turned the heat down once it started simmering because the pan got too hot and the sauce cooked into the fish, which really wasn't a bad thing, just not how the recipe described it.
But as long as it tasted good, who cares!! Once the fish flaked when I stuck a fork in it, I knew it was done and ready to eat. I poured the remaining sauce over the fish.
This meal turned out really good...and I mean really good. The bean puree was awesome and really complimented the heat in the coconut chile sauce. The chile sauce was really not that spicy, I think next time (and there will be a next time) I'll add more chile powder and (gasp!) more jalapeno.. But even though it wasn't that spicy, the fish and coconut-chili sauce was wonderful. The carrot and jalapeno worked really well together and the chili powder gave a great layer of heat. The coconut milk also really complimented the spicy flavors. I wasn't able to find light coconut milk, but I wasn't using much anyway, so I don't think it really mattered (calorically speaking).Once again Ryan was not here to join me, but I'm definitely making this for him because I think he will really like it (especially the spicy part) and he's been apprehensive about buying and cooking fish, so now I have 2 great fish dishes for him to taste.
I'm really proud of myself for doing something different and upping the spice level a bit. I'm getting obsessed with finding new and different recipes so hopefully May will be full of them.

1 comment:

Craig said...

Erin, this looks really good.Plus, I'm so proud of your adventures into spicy food!