Thai Sea Bass in Banana Leaves
This is a lovely Thai dish, not only in taste but in presentation. I made this with some good friends of mine in Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend on their Big Green Egg grill. If you haven’t seen one of these things – its totally cool and easy to use. And it’s BIG. And GREEN. And looks like and EGG. It’s actually a ceramic grill and smoker that reaches temperatures up to 700 degrees F and has the ability to grill, smoke or steam everything on the planet in about 15-20 minutes. Very cool. Anyways, we decided to make this Thai Sea Bass in Banana Leaves recipe from their Big Green Egg Cookbook and took a trip over to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market (which is also totally awesome if you haven’t been there – you must!). We picked up some fresh Sea Bass steaks (you can also use fillets), herbs, red curry paste, and banana leaves (which actually come frozen and need to be defrosted and cut down to size first before using).
Banana leaves are often used in Thai cooking to wrap around fish and add subtle flavor to whatever food they surround. This recipe was surprisingly easy to make and had wonderful tasty Asian flavors from the fresh herbs (basil, mint, cilantro, ginger and garlic and Thai chile) and lime. The red curry sauce is also easy to make by adding some paste to coconut milk and chicken stock and letting it simmer down while you grill/steam the fish in the banana leaves on the Big Green Egg. You just lay down a strip of the herb mixture, top it with some fish and lime slices, drizzle a little bit of oil, salt and pepper and then wrap the fish up in the leaves into cute little packets and throw them on the Big Green Egg (or any covered grill will do). After about 15-20 minutes you just unwrap the little packets, and top the fish with the curry sauce and serve with a side of lemony buttered green beans and fresh corn on the cob to go with it. Fresh, healthy and delicious.
1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup firmly packed chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup firmly packed chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup firmly packed chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup crushed garlic
1 thinly sliced red jalapeno or serrano pepper
4 banana leaves (cut to 12 inches square)
4 (6 to 7 ounce) sea bass fillets or steaks
1 lime, cut into 8 thin slices
2 tablespoons canola oil or spray
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Big Green Egg
Preheat the EGG (or grill) to 350 degrees F.
Sea Bass and lime
Prep fish and lime and set aside to begin making coconut curry.
- Red Curry Coconut Sauce
To make the sauce, combine the coconut milk, curry paste and chicken stock in a small saucepan. Simmer on the stovetop over medium heat for 10 minutes, then keep warm.
- Chopped Herbs
Combine all the herbs (basil, mint, cilantro, ginger, garlic and chile) in a medium bowl and mix well.
- Banana Leaves
Lay the banana leaves out flat,
- Sea Bass & Herbs on Leaves
and place 3 to 4 tablespoons of the herb mixture on the center of each leaf and top each mound of herbs with fish.
- Fish, Herbs and Lime on Leaves
Top each packet with 2 lime slices and 1/2 teaspoon canola oil (or some oil spray).
- Folding Banana Leaf Packets
Season with salt and pepper and begin folding packets by folding the sides of the leaf inward, then fold the top and bottom over and tucking the ends under (kinda like making a banana leaf fish burrito!!).
- Folded Leaves ready for the grill
Secure each packet with butcher’s twine and brush or spray more oil on the outside of the leaves.
Grilled Banana Leaves
Place the leaves directly on the EGG porcelain-coated grid (or regular grill if using) and close the lid. Grill for 7 to 8 minutes per side, until the interior of the fish is opaque (unwrap a package and insert a knife into the fish to test). Transfer the fish to individual plates, remove the twine, open the top, and spoon the curry sauce over the fish. Serve while hot and with a side of buttery lemon green beans and fresh corn on the cob. For wine pairing, serve with a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
Get more great recipes for the Big Green Egg
Check out the Big Green Egg Cookbook
Spicy Fish Tacos
There’s an interesting theory that in the summertime heat, eating spicy foods actually lowers your body temperature as well as a plethora of other health benefits such as raising your metabolism, improving digestion, mood and aids in better sleep. For a recent photoshoot I did for Miditto.com, we decided to pair some of their monthly wine selections with a spicy dish – and what better than some delicious fish tacos made with a kickin’ spice rub and a fresh mango-avocado-jalapeno salsa? You can always adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of cayenne red pepper (or omit it all together if you like the spice flavor without the heat), and to be perfectly honest this spice rub and fruity fresh salsa combination would go great with grilled chicken or shrimp too! We used Tilapia for this recipe but you can also substitute any other mild white fish such as orange roughy, flounder, halibut or haddock.
Garnish the tacos with some extra cilantro, jalapeños, fresh cracked black pepper. Some sliced red cabbage would also add a little bit of fresh crunch too. Add a dollop of sour cream or chipotle cream (recipe follows) are both great toppings to cool the spicy heat! For wine pairing, Miditto recommends a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, a bold red Zinfandel, a fruity Rose or a spicy Shiraz to compliment the spicy flavors of the dish.
Spicy Fish Tacos
1/2 tbsp cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound tilapia fillets
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup sliced peeled avocado
2/3 cup finely chopped peeled ripe mango
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
1 cup red cabbage, shredded (optional)
1 lime, fresh juice of for garnish
8 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas
Wash fish and pat dry, set aside.
Prep all fresh ingredients (chop garlic, herbs, fruit, onions, avocado, etc.) and set aside.
Measure out all dry spices (cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, paprika, cayenne, black pepper) and add to a mixing bowl, combine well. Rub spices over fish and let sit covered in plastic wrap for about 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator.
Cook fish in a skillet with oil for about 2 minutes on each side (check to make sure the fish is done by cutting a slit in the thickest part. If still pink, cook another minute or so until done). Keep the fish warm tented with some foil on a side plate while preparing the salsa.
To make the salsa, add together the rest of the salt (1/4 teaspon), avocado, mango, onions, cilantro, lime juice, red pepper and jalapeño (if using).
Rub a small amount of canola oil on the tortillas on both sides and heat in a skillet over medium-low. (You can also put them in the microwave for about 1 minute or warm them in the oven at 350 for about 5-10 minutes).
Cut the fish into medium size pieces and add them to the tortillas. Top each taco with a couple tablespoons of the mango-jalapeno-avocado salsa. For garnishes, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice, extra cilantro, jalapeno slices, cabbage, salt and pepper to taste. For a little extra flavor, add a drizzle of chipotle cream or top with a dollop of sour cream to cool the spicy heat.
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper (finely chopped) in adobo sauce
fresh lime juice from 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a small to medium mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix together well. If you like a smoother cream texture, throw everything into a blender or food processor until blended well.
Add chipotle cream to a squeeze bottle or plastic bag with a hole cut from one of the corners and squeeze over top of the tacos, or add a dollop of sour cream as a cool topping.
Makes 1/2 cup.
Spicy Fish Tacos
Taco Recipe adapted from and inspired by Cumin-Spiced Fish Tacos, Cooking Light, May 2012
Read more about the health benefits of eating spicy foods
Other Fish Taco Recipes you may enjoy:
Lourdes Castro’s Fish Tacos on Epicurious
Mark Bittman’s Fish Tacos on NY Times
Martha Stewart’s Fish Tacos
Food and Wine’s Fish Taco with Creamy Lime Guacamole and Cabbage Slaw
Bobby Flay’s Fish Tacos
OK folks – listen up. It’s that time of year again where Summer is coming, the sun is shining and we need to fit into that teeny bikini again… With Memorial Day approaching and sunny days on the boat, beach and lake ahead, I whipped up this recipe for a refreshingly light crab salad to get myself ready for the weekend. Chock full of fresh crab, lemon, veggies and tasty herbs and seasonings, you’ll love this healthy salad made with a low-fat dressing of grapeseed oil, white wine vinegar, lemon and a hint of low-fat/low-calorie mayonnaise. It’s full of flavor, vitamins, and protein, and so light it won’t touch your waistline.
If you aren’t into crab meat then switch it up and make this with tuna, shrimp or shredded chicken. Serve the salad over large lettuce leaves with some slices of fresh avocado and lemon wedges on salad greens and hit the beach while rockin’ that bikini! If you want to make a sandwich try it on a whole wheat pita or low carb tortilla wrap to keep light! Enjoy!
1 lb cooked lump crab meat (can sub imitation crab, tuna, shrimp or chicken)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
lemon juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 orange or red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced fine
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked white pepper
1/2 teaspoon Jane’s Krazy Salt (or any seasoned salt you have)
1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
2 mini fresh green chiles, diced fine (optional)
3 tablespoons light/low cal mayonnaise
Garnish: salad greens, sliced avocado, lemon wedges
Mix cooked crab meat with oil and vinegar and lemon juice, stir well and break up crab meat into flaky pieces. Add diced celery, orange or red pepper, onion, cucumber, cilantro, salt, pepper, crazy salt, chile flakes, green chiles and mayonnaise. Cover well and place salad in the refrigerator for an hour to chill and let the flavors meld. Serve over mixed greens with slices of avocado and fresh lemon wedges.
Prep time: 10 minutes / Total time: 10 minutes
Other Crab Salad Recipes you may enjoy:
Giada’s Crab Salad
Epicurious Crab Salad Sandwiches
AllRecipes.com Crab Salad
Beyond the Plate Crab Salad with Spicy Citrus Dressing
Food and Wine Thai Mango Crab Salad
Tamarind Shrimp Soba Noodles
This is a typical Asian dish with warm, smooth and bright flavors. Soba noodles are typical Japanese noodles made of buckwheat and wheat flours (you can find soba and most of the ingredients in this recipe in any Asian store, Kaluystan’s in NYC, Whole Foods or online).
The velvety flavorful sauce is semi-sweet and made with tamarind concentrate and coconut milk, infused with bright tangy Asian flavors – lime, red Thai chili, crispy shallots, mint and fennel seed. The shrimp are grilled to perfection (you can also sauté them if desired), then tossed with the Soba noodles and sauce to make a light, refreshing dish for Springtime. Garnish with cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews or diced mango for some extra layers of flavor.
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
36 shrimp, cleaned and deveined
½ cup tamarind concentrate (or use paste dissolved in coconut milk, strained)
1 cup coconut milk
4 Keffir lime leaves (or 1 tablespoon lime zest)
1 red Thai chile, diced
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
½ cup rice vinegar
½ pound buckwheat soba noodles
3 tablespoons sesame oil
Garnishes: chopped cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews, diced mango
Heat a 6-inch sauté pan over a medium heat and add the oil and shallots. Cook the shallots until golden brown and slightly crisp. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Shrimp Tamarind Mixture
In a small bowl, mix the tamarind concentrate and coconut milk. Add the shrimp, lime leaves or zest, chili, mint, garlic, fennel seed, rice vinegar and crispy shallots together and let marinate for at least 1 hour up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.
Tamarind Coconut Sauce
Remove the shrimp from the marinade and reserve the marinade.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add the soba noodles. Immediately add a cup of cold water to the pot. When it comes back to a boil, drain the noodles. (You can also sauté the noodles in some sesame oil after boiling and draining them, over high heat to crisp them on the bottom before serving).
Shrimp on Grill
Heat a 10-inch sauté pan or a grill over high heat, cook shrimp for 6 minutes.
Pour the marinade into a 2-cup sauce pan and bring to a boil, and reduce until thickened. Return the reduced marinade to the shrimp and divide the noodles among plates (or a large serving platter for the table), and serve the shrimp with sauce over the warm noodles.
Garnish with desired toppings: cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews, cubed mango.
Adapted from recipe by Richard Ruben, Techniques of Healthy Cooking, Institute of Culinary Education.
Similar recipes you may enjoy:
Epicurious Coconut Shrimp with Tamarind Ginger Sauce
Chipotle and Tamarind-Glazed Shrimp
Soba Noodles in Sesame Ginger Sauce with Grilled Veggies
Camille Cooks Sauteed Shrimp with Tamarind and Soba Noodles
Hawaiian Chicken with Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Grilling with fruit is an easy and staple technique in the summertime – it gives fresh flavor to ordinary BBQ dishes and is a healthy compliment to whatever it is your grilling. This recipe is a Spicy Hawaiian Chicken with a grilled pineapple salsa, made of cilantro, jalapeno pepper and onion (if you prefer a less spicy dish, substitute a red bell pepper instead of the jalapeno). The BBQ sauce is spicy and sweet made with honey, garlic, hot sauce, ketchup and soy sauce (you can also make less spicy by adding more ketchup and soy and honey in place of the hot sauces). The dish is rounded out by a side of rice, perfect mixed in with the pineapple jalapeno salsa and grilled chicken. Top it off with a refreshing frozen watermelon martini (recipe following) – made with vodka, fresh juicy watermelon, crushed ice and some cosmopolitan martini mix…now that’s a sweet and savory dinner perfect for a summer night. Enjoy!
1/4 c pineapple juice
3 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Country Sweet sauce
1 tbsp Chili Garlic sauce
1/2 tbsp Cholula hot pepper sauce
Fresh ground pepper
4 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless, preferably organic for plumper breasts)
4 pineapple slices for grilling, then diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and deveined, chopped (or 1/2 red bell pepper)
2 cups cooked rice (white or yellow)
Combine the first seven ingredients to make the BBQ marinade and add the chicken breasts, storing in a Ziplock bag or covered baking dish, reserving some of the marinade for basting. Let marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
Prepare the rice per package instructions, keep warm and fluff with a fork when ready to serve.
To prep the grilled pineapple salsa, chop the jalapeno pepper, red onion and cilantro into a medium dice, mix together and set aside to add grilled pineapple for serving.
Heat the grill or grill pan over medium-high heat (spray the grates or pan with cooking spray just before grilling). Grill chicken breasts about 6-7 minutes per side, basting with the reserved marinade a few times on each side until the chicken gets a nice golden brown color and grill marks. Grill the pineapple slices about 1 minute until browned and chop into medium diced pieces. Mix pineapple chunks into the jalapeno, onion and cilantro mixture, and serve with the chicken and rice. Garnish with some extra cilantro leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
Frozen Watermelon Martini
Frozen Watermelon Martini
2 c watermelon, seeded, cut into chunks
1 tray ice cubes
4 shots vodka (less or more to taste!)
4 shots cosmopolitan martini mix (I used Master of Mixes Martini Gold)
In a blender, puree the watermelon into a thick consistency then add ice cubes, crushing to a medium fine mix. Add vodka and cosmopolitan martini mix and blend until thoroughly mixed. Add more vodka or some Cointreau orange liqueur, if desired, and pour into martini glasses. Garnish with a wedge of fresh watermelon.