When I was a kid I thought fish was a white rectangle that came from a box in the freezer. My mother didn’t like fish except for salmon, so we didn’t eat it much. My Dad went fishing once or twice a summer and my grandmother would cook some delicious mackerel or bluefish that day. But that was it. That boxed fish tasted like it looked — like a piece of white painted wallboard.
I eventually learned to love fish, fresh fish, later in life. White fish, blue fish, mild fish, strong fish. (This one has a little star! Say, what a lot of fish there are! ( thanks Dr. Seuss))
And although I will sometimes grill or broil a fillet simply, with a brushing of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and some bread crumbs, I prefer to cook fish with sauces, salsas, relishes, compound butters and interesting seasonings so that my husband, who says he likes fish but is really more on my mother’s side of the ledger fishwise, will eat it more readily.
Yesterday I bought snapper and made this spicy preparation that combines tomatoes, ginger, chili peppers and curry powder, balanced with rich, vaguely sweet coconut milk. Absolutely first rate delicious and incredibly easy to cook. And you can see for yourself that it looks good on the plate, so it’s suitable for company. You can make it with any mild, white fleshed fish.
Snapper in Coconut Curry
2 pounds snapper or other mild, white fleshed fish
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 scallions, chopped
2-4 dried red chili peppers
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
1-1/2 cups coconut milk
1 medium tomato, chopped
salt to taste
Cut the fillets into smaller pieces and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the scallions, chili peppers, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes to soften the vegetables. Sprinkle in the curry powder, stir and pour in the coconut milk. Add the tomato, bring to a simmer and cook for 8-9 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. Add the fish, spoon to sauce on top and cook for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through. Nice served over rice. Makes 4 servings