So something about me – I love seafood. Like, it could possibly rival smoked barbecue ribs for my favorite thing to eat, ever. Unfortunately, I live in ol’ land-locked Utah and fresh seafood is not only difficult to find, but abnormally expensive when you do find it. That’s why I’m always looking for a “special occasion”- so I can splurge. One such occasion presented itself this past weekend, when I invited my sister over for dinner to keep me company while Jules was still down in Florida. For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@c_marcum), you probably saw this picture I posted on Saturday night:
|taken with my phone, sorry. I’ll get better with the photography part of this|
Pan-seared halibut with a coconut curry broth. Now, Jules can tell you that curry is one of my favorite flavors on this planet. I would eat it every day, but it’s not necessarily low-cal. That’s why this broth is an awesome option–it’s mostly chicken stock. And because chicken stock is more of a backup singer than a leading lady, the coconut curry flavor still dominates, in the best way imaginable.
So here’s how it went down. I’m going to focus on the sauce, because the fish and rice aren’t tricky. Steamed jasmine rice, pan-seared halibut. If you’ve never cook halibut, here’s the elevator pitch:
Pan on medium/medium-low heat, oven pre-heated to 375. Halibut with skin on, rinsed, patted dry. Tablespoon of oil in the pan, immediately add the halibut, skin side down (cold oil in a hot pan will minimize sticking). sprinkle top of halibut with salt and pepper, flip when the skin is crispy and place the pan in the oven. Bake until done. Maybe 5-8 minutes. I usually remove the skin before plating, but some people like it. Your choice.
Ok, now for the curry broth. I’m giving exact measurements, but honestly I didn’t measure. I’m just kinda guessing because I know some people want measurements. Feel free to adjust things however you want. Here’s what ya need:
• cooking oil
• 2 or 3 shallots, minced. If you don’t have shallots, you can use 2 parts red onion to 1 part garlic and it will be pretty close.
• 1/2 cup good quality coconut milk. Make sure it’s a brand that leaves some of the cream in, otherwise it’s too runny and not enjoyable. Mae ploy is a decent mass-produced brand. Shake the can really well before opening.
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 1 Tbsp red curry paste – less for less spice, more for more (strange how that works out). I use Mae ploy curry paste, but if you wanna get fancy and spend your time making your own, go for it.
• 1 tsp lime juice
• chopped green onion
• cilantro leaves
In a heated pan (medium-low heat), sauté your shallots (or onion/garlic) in a bit of oil. Be careful not to let it burn, especially if you’re using garlic. You almost want the shallots to sweat more than sauté, so watch your heat. Once the shallot has turned translucent, add your curry paste and cook that for about a minute, stirring frequently.
Next step, add your coconut milk and let simmer for a couple minutes. Stir in your chicken stock and lime juice until everything is mixed well, then let simmer maybe 5-10 minutes or so, to thicken. Taste it frequently, add more stock if it gets too thick, water if it’s too thick and too salty.
Guess what. That’s all. No more steps. Nothing else to do. Simply put your rice on the plate (I packed mine into a bowl then turn the bowl upside down to get that “cheap Chinese restaurant” look everyone so desires, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to. Just put the rice on, put your fish next to it, sprinkle green onion around the plate, ladle some of the sauce around the plate and on the rice, and top the fish with cilantro. Bang, done.
So hopefully you live somewhere where buying fresh halibut doesn’t require a special occasion. But even if you don’t, you’ll want to figure out a reason and go for it. And the best part is, this meal is far more simple than it tastes, so you’re guaranteed to impress whoever you’re cooking for.
What are you planning on cooking this weekend? Any special plans or occasions? Share the deets and maybe you can inspire someone else.