Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 7 - Antigua!!

This was by far the most beautiful meal I've prepared so far. Also the most expensive because the fish cost about $50. But it was SO worth it, and when one considers how much a similar meal would cost in a restaurant, it was WAY worth it.  I'm really partial to seafood and Caribbean/West Indian cooking, so I was very excited about this dinner.

So by now, everyone knows the history drill, which I feel compelled to give because you can't know the people and the country if you don't know where it is:

Antigua and Barbuda's rich history dates back to the Siboney followed by Arawaks, on to Christopher Columbus, through English and French settlers, the influence of sugar and the plantations, slavery and the years of colonialism. The island gained independence in 1981. Seems like every time Christopher Columbus' name shows up, bad things happen.

West Indian food has strong traditions. The best of it is delicious, with a good use of local fresh fish and the exceptional spices and fruits. In general local food includes stews accompanied by  starchy vegetables such as yams and of course, rice dishes.

For this meal, I made Red Snapper (warm water fish not known to the Eastern Coast) encrusted in coconut and thyme with a pineapple salsa; plantains with a mango sauce (bought at Whole Foods); sweet potatoes and sliced cucumbers. Dessert was sliced papaya and mangoes.

Red snapper fillet, papaya, mangoes, coconuts, sweet potatoes and pineapple

The meal was really easy to make, the flavors fresh and clean and the colors were beautiful

A big thank you to my love-girl, Sarah H. for her consultation on cooking the fish - I love you! The recipes follow:

For the pineapple salsa 
1 small pineapple, prepared, flesh diced 
1 small onion, finely diced 
1 small green pepper, finely diced 
1 tsp sweet paprika, or 1 tbsp diced pimento 
1 tsp white wine vinegar 
2 tbsp olive oil
For the fish 
4x 175g red snapper, or mahi mahi fillets 
2 limes, juice only, plus 1 tbsp extra 
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped 
4 tbsp finely grated fresh coconut, (available from Asian shops) 
4 sprigs thyme, or enough to give 2 tsp leaves 
2 tbsp vegetable oil 
1 tbsp butter
1. For the salsa, mix the pineapple with the onion, green pepper, paprika, sugar, white wine vinegar and olive oil. Leave on one side while you cook the fish.

2. Put the fish fillets in a shallow dish. Combine the juice from 2 limes with the garlic and pour over the fish. Leave on one side to marinate for 1-2 hours.

3. Mix the coconut with the thyme leaves and use to coat each fillet on both sides, pressing the coconut down well.

4. Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a deep frying pan set over a medium heat. Fry the fish for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crisp. About a minute before the fish is ready, add the butter and the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice to the pan. Transfer the fish to warmed plates and pour over any buttery juices. Accompany with pineapple salsa.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, not a fan of seafood either, but the fruit just looks delicious. It's midnight here, yet these blog entries are making me hungry!

I'm going to be annoying and offer another suggestion - when posting recipes, can you be consistent with the formatting? I'm sure you're trying out other ways, but it would help in reading if the previous ones were all formatted alike. (And, if possible, to expand the past entries to include the recipes, if you have time!)