Friday, October 8, 2010

Barramundi & Coconut Vegetable Chowder

I have a bunch of cookbooks and get a few food magazines (I cry a little every time I think about my beloved Gourmet), and I really enjoy the challenge of taking recipes that sound delicious, but don't necessarily fit in with our style of eating, and turning them into paleo-friendly dishes.  I channel my favorite chefs, put on one of my many aprons, crank the iPod and have my own little test kitchen session.  Sometimes it works...other times, it's pretty apparent my modifications were less than stellar and our dog Brody gets a nice meal, but in any case it's an adventure.  This recipe came out better than I could have imagined, and there were no leftovers to be had.

I adapted this recipe from the October Bon Appetit magazine, where they took it from Happy Restaurant in Boulder. 

For the chowder:
Heat 1 tbs oil in a large pot - add 1 cup diced onion, 3 kaffir lime leaves (if you can't find them, you can use the zest and juice frPublish Postom 1 lime), 3 large fresh basil leaves, 1 tbs minced fresh ginger, 1 chopped jalapeno with seeds, 2 smashed garlic cloves.  Stir occasionally for 4-5 minutes, then add 3 cups canned coconut milk, 2 cups vegetable broth, 2 tbs salt, 1-2 tsp chili oil, and 1 15oz bottle fresh carrot juice.  Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.  Strain out the solids - pressing them to get all the liquid out - and return liquid to pot.

Peel and cube (removing the seeds) of 1 small acorn or delicata squash, then boil until soft.  Add the squash cubes, 1 carrot peeled and cut into matchsticks, 1 red bell pepper cubed, 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts, 1 small head of grated cauliflower and 2 cups chopped sugar snap peas to the broth.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are just soft.

For the fish:
Rinse and pat dry 4 small fillets (I used Barramundi, but you can use any fish really).  Add salt and pepper, and 1 tbs flax seed meal to each fillet, pressing the flax seed meal into the flesh.  Heat up 4 tbs coconut oil in a saucepan, and place fish skin side up*/flax seed side down into the pan.  Cook approx 4 minutes each side.

Serve with avocado slices, lime wedges and fresh basil

*note on cooking fish, the skin side attracts the heat, so if you're broiling fish, skin goes down, if you're grilling/frying, skin goes up! 

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