Thanksgiving aside, I’ve been pondering and searching for appetizers that are elegant, refreshing (had enough of carb overload) and easy to make and serve for holiday entertaining AND in particular, for an event on Dec. 6th at The Alley restaurant in Newport Beach where I’m the guest chef. Even though I’m kind of freaking out about cooking in a professional kitchen for the first time and serving – I haven’t heard how many people yet; I’m proud and excited to be part of any event that involves art and wine, but especially to support a fabulous local artist, friend and all around great person, Lisa Mertins.
I saw this Thai-inspired sashimi recipe on A Communal Table about a month ago and kept coming back to it again and again. I emailed Nancy, the friendly face, creative personal chef and catering specialist behind A Communal Table, asking her whether her Artichoke Fritters would be suitable for a tray service party – not only did she respond but she offered other suggestions as well. She’s a warm and genuine person with a plethora of useful tips and suggestions and a delicious array of approachable recipes, please check out her site.
Coconut Green Curry Sauce
(Thanks to Nancy at A Communal Table for her adaptation of a Mark Franz, Farallon Restaurant recipe)
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. green curry paste
zest of 1 lemon*
1 14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk*
1 cup dry white wine (such as a sauvignon blanc)
1/4 cup heavy cream
zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp sea salt
8 oz. fresh sushi grade hamachi (sushi grade ahi tuna or Kona kampachi* can be substituted)
1.Heat 1 Tbsp. of canola oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat until oil is hot. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent – about 8 minutes. If starting to brown, reduce heat.
2. Add the garlic, curry paste and lemon zest and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until reduced by 1/2, about 20 minutes.
3. Stir in the cream and remove from heat. Let cool about 15 minutes.
4. Transfer mixture to a blender and blend. Add 2 Tbsp. lime juice and blend until smooth, about 1 more minute. On low speed, add remaining canola oil in a slow, steady stream and process until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Sauce can be made 1 day ahead – cover and refrigerate
To serve – thinly slice hamachi and overlap slices on a small plate. Drizzle sauce over fish and garnish with lime zest and a pomegranate seed or two. Next time I’ll serve the sashimi on top of a bit of seaweed salad because I would have liked a little crunchy texture with the velvety sauce and sashimi.
*Adaptations I made were substituting lemon zest for the lemongrass that the original recipe called for and using Trader Joe’s light coconut milk because that’s what I had in my pantry.
The fresh pomegranate seeds added a pleasurable pop and sweet/tart taste sensation as well as a festive holiday crimson color.
To seed a pom, first cut the fruit into quarters lengthwise in the sink or over a bowl. My advice is to do it under water to prevent staining countertops or cutting boards, plus the water makes it easier to separate the avril (seeds) from the flesh. Then use a sieve to strain the mixture and discard the flesh. Simply Recipes has a great photo step-by-step tutorial if you need it.