Some events really put you under fire and show you were you are in your craft. Others serve to show you how far you’ve come. This past weekend I helped cook for a wedding now, two days later, can really see that I’ve come a long way in my cooking. The team was amazing, consisting of a mastermind chef and his friends and family. All of them seemed to be experts at something but at the same time none of us really knew exactly what we were doing. What we produced was magical. Rubbed chickens that were roasted to perfection, these delectable dates that were stuffed with gorgonzola cheese and fried prosciutto, and my contribution a ceviche that fuses Mexican and Thai flavors, which is what I’m sharing with you today.
Fearless Leader: Leon Johnson of Salt & Cedar
Basting the Chicken
Straight out of the oven
Taking a break on he cool pavement
The crew before the wedding party arrived
Us doing our creepy faces
15 hour days are nothin’ with this crew
Alright, enough fluff… time to food.
Ceviche with Thai Curry Coconut Cream
When I came up with this recipe I was trying to compliment the bright sour notes of the ceviche with the creamy hot sweetness of thai green curry. The spices, fresh herbs worked very well with the richness of coconut and zing of lime. Freshness of the fish will make or break this dish and most likely your bowels as well. So be sure your catch is fresh.
Thai Curry Paste
- 2 Stalks Lemongrass
- 30 g. chunk Galangal, peeled (about thumb sized)
- 1tsp Shrimp Paste
- 1 tsp Fish Sauce
- 3-8 Thai Green Chilies
- 3 Cups of Thai Basil
- 2 Cups of Cilantro
- 1 to 2 larger Shallots, peeled
- 5 cloves of Garlic
- Coconut Milk
- 3 tablespoons of Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Lime Juice
- 3 grams fresh Ground Coriander
- 2 tablespoons White Pepper
- 3 ground cardamom seeds
Tip: Juice the Galangal and the lemongrass if possible, these things are very fibrous and a smoother paste will result in a more pleasant curry. If not, no big deal.
- It’s really quite simple really, process all the ingredients starting with the tougher ones first (Lemongrass and Galangal) then pour in the coconut milk just enough to make a wet but firm paste. Your kitchen should smell like heaven.
- This paste will keep in the fridge for a week OR freeze for 6 months
To Make the Curry
- Mix in 1 parts paste for one parts coconut milk. More paste makes a thicker curry, less makes a lighter one. Heat it with a saucepan if desired.
- 1 lb Firm fleshed fish (we used atlantic cod with decent results) MUST be caught fresh. We’re talking less than a day old here. Do not use this recipe with thawed fish… just don’t.
- 3 thai chili peppers, finely chopped
- Juice of 6 limes and 3 large lemons
- 2 Tomatoes, quartered or 3 cups of tomato water
- 1 Stalk of lemongrass
- 1 ounce Galangal
- 3 Shallots or one red onion, finely diced
Make the marinade
- Mix in the juice, lemongrass, galangal, tomatoes and shallots in a non reactive (ceramic or glass will work) bowl and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes.
- Remove the tomatoes (give them a nice squeeze as you do), galangal, lemongrass from the juice.
“Cook” The fish
- Chop the fish into small cubes, making sure to mind the bones
- Mix in the fist and allow it to sit, covered in juice for 15 minutes (less will be more raw but take care not to ‘overcook’ the fish as it will become flakey and crumble).
- Strain out the juice, plate, top with curry to taste and serve.