Saturday, August 6, 2011

Coconut fish stew, and Slim's new blog

I've been a fan of Melissa Clark for awhile now--I always look forward to her column in the Times and even went so far as to buy her book. But I've had a few missteps with the book--recipes that fell short and didn't make it to the Hungry Dog.

Happily, my faith in Ms. Clark has been restored with this beautiful and simple fish stew that I made last week. It's quick, versatile, and incredibly flavorful. Within a few bites, the husband and I were already imagining it with scallops or chicken, and other kinds of vegetables.

Oh, yeah--the vegetables. I added the green beans. I wanted the dish to have more color, and it's ingrained in me to have a vegetable with dinner. So I threw in a handful of green beans, cut into one-inch pieces. Next time, I would blanch them first and throw them in at the end. Since I cooked them in the soup, they turned a little grey. Still tasted good, though.

Next time I won't finely chop the lemongrass-it remains too fibrous, so I'll leave it in large enough pieces to eat around. And,  the recipe is oddly-sized--it's only meant to serve two. Luckily I had bought a pound of snapper so we had a little extra, and in the end, we each got a dinner and a moderate lunch out of the deal. The rice helped bulk it up, too, in a good way.

One more thing. The husband has started a blog, which you can find here. It's about travel, dogs, style, food, drinking beer, life. In case you're wondering, Slim is a nickname leftover from his Kentucky days, on account of him being very tall and rather, uh, slim. Jump on over and give him a shout! 

Coconut fish stew with basil and lemongrass
Adapted slightly from  In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite

1 T. vegetable oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 c. chicken stock
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
1 lemongrass stalk, cut into a few chunks
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. fish sauce
1 T. light brown sugar
3/4 t. salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 lb. seafood, such as snapper (which is what I used) or other firm fish, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks, peeled shrimp, scallops, or a combination
2 T. chopped cilantro
2 T. chopped basil
Handful of chopped green beans, zucchini, or other vegetable, blanched
Freshly squeezed lime juice to taste
Cooked rice, for serving (optional)

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until the shallots are softened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the stock, coconut milk, lemongrass, jalapeno pepper, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, salt, and lime zest. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the seafood, herbs, and vegetables. Cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in the lime juice.

Place a scoop of rice at the bottom of each serving bowl and ladle stew over the top.

4 medium-sized servings.


  1. Sounds great! I bet it would be fabulous with scallops - although what isn't? ;)

  2. Sounds great, I absolutely love snapper. Will have to check out your husband's blog!

  3. I love coconut and I'd also love to add some hot pepper to this - a Thai style. Agree with Camille about the scallops.

  4. camille: agreed.

    Connie: Yeah, see what you think!

    Agrigirl: Good idea on the hot pepper...

  5. ooh, kind of a tom yum soup? I just made a thai hot and sour shrimp soup, it said to cut the lemongrass into inch lenths and pound with the flat side of a cleaver to mash it. Easy to remove...

  6. although this stew is most definitely NOT up my alley, i'm a fan of any cookbook by melissa clark. not only are there good recipes, but it's usually a good read too!

  7. foodhoe: I like the sound of that shrimp soup, will you be posting about it soon? Thanks for the lemongrass idea.

    grave: MC is a great writer--one of my role models!

  8. wow! this recipe looks delish! Just found your blog, can't wait to browse around and bookmark! come check out my blog, i just put up a new giveaway :)
    mini baker

  9. Yum, I love all those flavor profiles. Reminds me of southeast asian food. Oh! And I better go check out your husband's new blog!

  10. mini: Thanks for stopping by! I'll check out your blog too.

    Jessica: It's definitely a new favorite recipe--just made it again a couple nights ago (this time with snapper and shrimp).

  11. Yum, that does sound delicious, and it's been ingrained in me to have some vegetables at every meal too (except breakfast). Will check out "The Husband's" new blog now :) So exciting.

  12. The soup looks lovely. Good tip on the use of lemon grass. I will remember that one in the future.

    I am off to check-out your husband's blog.


  13. shaz: Yeah, no veg necessary at breakfast. (Fruit's nice, though...)

    Velva: Hope you like it.