I love Jacques Pepin. The man is truly a master, but he scares me. I remember watching him on one of his earlier PBS series where his daughter, Claudine, would be cooking with him – such a brave woman. It was so typical of many parents with their children in the kitchen: the watchful eyes, the directions, the taking of your knife and demonstrating how they want it done. I'd watch the show and only realize that my fists were clenched or my legs crossed tightly
when the show was over. I was always scared for her, but Claudine handled herself well. Every time.
OK, so the only reason that I mention Jacques Pepin is because he has a book titled: “Fast Food My Way.” However, it's a phrase I use a lot when chatting with my friends about quick meals I make when I don't have a lot of time or energy to spend in the kitchen. It aptly describes the dish I am sharing with you today: Grey Snapper in a Coconut Milk Sauce.
All you need are a few ingredients and this dish is done in about 20 – 25 minutes. It goes well with rice but when I made it, I had it with crusty homemade bread. It was so good. Just let the bread sit in the bowl or pan and soak up the sauce. Use a couple of napkins; place one over your chest to prevent your clothes from being soiled. Trust me, that heavenly, yeasty bread pregnant with sauce is bound to drip!
Grey Snapper in Coconut Milk
2 pounds grey snapper fillets, cleaned and cut into 4-x-1-inch thick pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup diced onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, divided equally
2 cups fresh coconut milk (or 1 cup canned coconut milk and 1 cup tap water)
Season fish lightly with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add ginger, onion and garlic, sprinkle salt, toss to mix and reduce heat to low and cook until the aromaticsare softened. Do not let them get brown.
Stir in the turmeric and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Turn heat to high andpour in coconut milk, add half of the cilantro, season lightly with saltand pepper. Let the pan come to a boil and then reduce heat to lowand let simmer for 5 – 6 minutes.
Turn heat to high and place fish in pan in single layer, cover and let pan come to boil. As soon as the pan comes to a boil, remove the cover and let the fish cook for 6 – 8 minutes; spoon sauce over the fish to baste as it cooks, or, if you like, carefully flip fish over halfway during the cooking process.
Toss in the remaining cilantro and shake pan for it to settle into sauce; taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Let the dish rest for a couple of minutes then serve while still hot.
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