RECIPE. Jun 24, 2011

Coconut Green with Envy Cod

I have quite a few cooking blogs I follow on a regular basis to give me inspiration, motivation and excitement about cooking the next meal for myself and my family. While I look forward to every new post, eagerly anticipating their next new idea or inventive creation, I am also incredibly envious. A vast majority of my posts are just new twists on an already existing recipe, often from one or more of these blogs. I know I am still learning but I still don’t think I have what it takes to create a recipe out of thin air. I really enjoy taking something someone else has created and tweaking it to fit my needs then sharing the results. Does this make me a cooking cheater? A dishonest food blogger? An average mother and wife trying to disguise myself as some sort of foodie? I don’t think so. I think the reason I love to alter the creations of others to make something entirely new is because it is a way of feeling connected to these other people out there making, eating and writing about food.

It is the highest form of flattery when someone wants to share something you have created, as long as they give you credit. This particular post came from 101cookbooks. I love the way she organizes her recipes by several different categories such as seasons, ingredients or even type of meal. I usually find recipes using her ingredients categorization. This time I had asparagus to use and stumbled on this recipe. While it didn’t call for fish I thought it would be an excellent accompaniment and increase the status from side to main dish.

I’ve made it three times so far because it is really just that good. If I don’t have asparagus on hand then I use another vegetable such as peas, carrots or zucchini. I love a mix of spinach and kale for the greens because it gives such a nutritional boost without ruining the flavor. I think the secret is mashing the garlic and onion together and sprinkling with toasted coconut at the end. This will please even the pickiest of eaters despite the fact that it is a small list of ingredients and it only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. It is also a minimal amount of time over a stove when summer is just beginning to heat up and keep us all far from the kitchen.

Prep the fish by slicing the fillet in half and sprinkling with salt, pepper and turmeric. Feel free to experiment with other spices as well. Place the shallot/onion and garlic on a cutting board, sprinkle with the salt, and chop/mash everything into a paste. Or use a motor and pestle. Heat the oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Add the seeds, cover with a lid, and let them toast a bit. Remove the lid, stir in the red pepper flakes and let cook for a minute.

Place fish in skillet and let fry about 4-5 minutes on each side or until it flakes when probed by a fork. Remove fish and set aside. Stir in the asparagus if you’re using it, let cook roughly another minute, then stir in the garlic-shallot paste and all of the spinach.

Keep stirring until the spinach starts collapsing a bit, and brightens up - barely any time at all - perhaps a minute. Add fish back into skillet for just a moment to reheat the remove pan from heat and serve. Finish with a sprinkle of coconut.