As an avide foodie I crave and adore nothing more than a night in with a new recipe, ingredient, technique or guest to experiment on for the blog! Cheaper, more fun and far more relaxing. However, since moving to London the expanse of diverse, exciting and vibrant culinary pop-ups, restaurants, cafes and bars has stolen part of my attention which had been held hostage to the blog for a long while. I rarely eat out, only really on occasion. And then, nothing pains and bruises me more than ordering (or eating!) something I could have made myself. Be it better, warmer, larger or cheaper! Hence, I choose my dining locations carefully and my menu choices with thought.
However, as a fellow foodie, my willing sister and I venture out on a monthy or so basis to one of London’s restaurants to excite our taste buds, get inspiration and frankly for a girly catch up. Our list of ‘must try restaurants’ is only growning sadly. It seems that once one is ticked off another is added. We’ve had some great food but last Friday, after long frustrating working weeks, a home cooked delicious meal was in order. A few luxurious king prawns, a little love, time and attention and an aromatic riesling guaranteed and certainly delivered a more relaxing, cheaper, (boozier…..ahem…..) and enjoyable evening. This dish was delicious and hit the spot for flavour, decadence (without being time consuming I add, especially if you miss out the stock infusion at the start) and highly satisfying. Followed by a few too many scoops of my cheats salted caramel ice cream it was agreed that an evening in was far more rewarding and enjoyable than filling London’s bars and tills with our hard earned cash!
- 4 seabass fillets
- 8-10 large raw whole king prawns (win heads and shell) Optional – if you want to make a flavoursome stock. Raw cleaned prawns are fine if not.
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Thumb sized piece ginger, grated
- 20g tumeric root, grated
- 1 large red chilli (heat according to taste)
- 350ml fish stock
- 400ml coconut milk
- 1 stick lemongrass
- 1 Kaffir lime leaf
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- Bunch spring onions, chopped
- Large bunch coriander, chopped
- 2 limes, 1 cut into wedges to serve
- Around 8oz rice – I used red Camargue rice
- Greens to serve e.g. mange tout, pak choi etc.
- [This first step is optional and can be skipped. It will add a depth of flavour to the dish by using the shells and heads to enrich your fish stock. Peel the shells and heads from the prawns keeping the prawns for later. Heat a little oil in a saucepan on a medium high heat and add the shells and heads. Fry for about 5-8 minutes until they turn pink and begin to release their flavour and oily orangey juices. After this time, add the hot fish stock and simmer gently for about 4 minutes.
- Sieve through a fine sieve into a jug or another saucepan retaining all the liquid but then discard the shells. Keep the stock warm until needed.]
- Next, heat a tsp of coconut oil in a heavy based saucepan. Fry the ginger, tumeric, garlic and chilli for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
- Bash the lemongrass with the back of a knife a few times to open up the layers and add to the pan with the lime leaf and simmer gently for about 10 minutes to reduce the sauce and let the faours infuse.
- Add the fish sauce (I suggest adding it a tbsp at a time and tasting in between as once its in you can’t take it out again!).
- I made this a day ahead and I really think it benefitted from some time infusing in the pan while quietly chilling in the fridge (especially using the lime leave and lemongrass which will release thier flavours endlessly). I recommend at this stage to remove from the heat and leave to cool and infuse overnight. If not, continue as below.
- Simmer (or reheat, depending on your method) the sauce until you reach the desired creamy consistency you prefer then remove the lemongrass and lime leaf and discard. Stir in the chopped spring onions and coriander. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm while you prepare the rest.
- Cook your rice and add the juice of 1 lime to the drained hot grains and set aside to keep warm.
- Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and add another tsp or so of coconut oil. Cut your seabass fillets in half if you wish, and score the skin to stop them curling up on frying. Fry, skin side down for 2-3 minutes, flipping only whe the skin is crisp and the flesh is almost done which you will see when the majority of it has turned white.
- While the seabass is cooking, add your prawns to the hot coconut sauce. Add them when the sauce is barely simmering to gently and lightly cook the prawns. Don’t overcook these or they will go all chewy. They need very little time and heat so a brief blast in the hot sauce until they just turn pink will do sufficiently.
- To serve, divide the lime rice among large warmed soup bowls.
- Top with the seabass fillets and divide the creamy sauce around the outside. Scatter with any reserved coriander and a juicy zesty wedge of lime!
To serve – I served mine with some briefly blanched sugar snap peas and mange tout. Drained and dressed quickly with a teaspoon of sesame oil while still hot and scattered with nigella seeds.
NOTE: This would also work very well with salmon. Feel free to gently poach the fillets in the coconut sauce for a different technique. Serve with any greens you like. Another addition would be to grate in some fresh coconut for added texture and taste.
WINE: Served with a lovely aromatic riesling to balance with the spice in this dish. Or a beer if you prefer! See here for some lovely suggestions.
To follow if you’re feeling like you need a Friday treat…………
- Mix 1 can caramel condensed milk, 300ml single cream, 1 ½ tsp flaky maldon salt, crumbled in a tupperware. Freeze until set and then devour! NO CHURNING INVOLVED! (Crumble in some roasted hazelnuts, walnuts peanuts or pecans if you like)