Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Seared Striped Bass with Green Curry

Making my own green curry paste did required a shopping trip to get a dozen ingredients that go into it. But my immersion blender did all the hard work, and now that I have a jar or green curry in my fridge, I've been whipping up cool sauces in minutes. Here is my favorite green curry dish from last week. Of course, you can use store bought curry paste, but beware that it might be more spicy, so you might want to start with 2 teaspoons and add more to taste.

Tips: Kaffir lime leaves are not always available, so if you see some at your store, get a bunch and freeze them in a ziplock bag. Defrost for 5 minutes before using. And if you can't find kaffir lime leaves at all, just skip them. I won't tell if you won't tell.

Fish substitutions: Red Snapper, Salmon, Black bass, Halibut (without skin), Sable (without skin)

Serves 4

For the fish:
4 striped bass fillets with skin, 6-8 oz each
1 Tbsp canola oil
Salt and pepper

For the curry:
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, outer leaves removed
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 shallot, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 inches of ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2-3 Tbsp green curry paste (if using store bought paste, adjust amount to taste)
1 1/4 cup water
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce (nam pla)

Garnishes and sides (optional):
Cooked rice
1 cup whole cilantro leaves
1 cup whole mint leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves, stemmed and sliced as thinly as possible
2 inches lemongrass stalk, white parts only, sliced as thinly as possible
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Prep all the curry and garnish ingredients so that you are ready to make the sauce while fish is cooking.
  3. Dry fish fillets well with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
    Set a large non-stick or well seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add 1 Tbsp oil and wait for it to get hot. Add fish fillets skin side down and sear without disturbing until browned, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Flip the fish, and place the skillet in the oven. If your skillet is not oven safe, move the fish skin side up to a shallow baking dish before moving to the oven. The total cooking time (searing + baking) should equal 8 minutes per inch of thickness. To test for doneness, bend the fillet with a fork as if to fold it in half. If the fillet breaks, it's done (don't worry -- the skin will keep it together so it will still look good). Since the fish will continue to cook once it's off the heat, it should be almost opaque in the center, but not quite.
  5. While fish is cooking, prepare the curry. Set a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add the oil, shallots, garlic, and ginger. Cook stirring constantly just until starting to brown, about 1 minute. Add coriander and curry paste and cook stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  6. Reduce heat to low. Slowly add the water, lime zest and juice, soy sauce, fish cause, 3 whole kaffir lime leaves, and whole lemongrass stalk. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Discard lime leaves and lemongrass and add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Divide rice among 4 plates, top with whole cilantro and mint leaves. Place fish on top of each plate skin side up. Spoon curry on top of fish. Garnish with sliced kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.


Nina said...

If I had homemade green curry paste and homemade sushi, I would never leave home. :)

barbie2be said...

oh my GOD! that looks delicious...

Ellen said...

This looks too good to be true. Where the heck can I get all those ingredients? I must make the green curry sauce!