RECIPE: Celebrate halibut season with this Thai Coconut Curry
I love coconut milk. This rich, creamy, fragrant gift from nature transports me to holiday mode no matter what time of year it is. Coconut curry sauce is astonishingly easy to make at home when you use Thai curry paste. There is a red and green curry available and either one works wonderfully.
This recipe is beautiful with white fish, salmon, shellfish or even chicken. Once you see how easy it is to make coconut curry, this will be one of your go-to dishes. In B.C. halibut season has begun making this glorious local white fish the star of this dish. Rich and delicate, this fish is luxurious and a little pricey, but it is worth it. The trick with halibut is not to overcook it. When cooked just a couple of minutes too long, it transforms into something bland and dry and you will cry. It is best to take the fish off of the element or out of the oven when it is almost cooked as it will continue cooking for the final minute or two of heat.
I recently learned that it is better to cook the coconut milk longer so that the oils separate and the flavours intensify. When this happens the colour also changes from bright white to a richer golden colour. To get around this, one only has to add more coconut milk near the end of the cooking process and voila! The beautiful white coconut colour returns. These curries are versatile with other vegetables added, or even spinach. Topping with cilantro is also an option and lime of course, also adds the delicious taste of the tropics.
Halibut in Thai Coconut Curry
1 pound Halibut, divided into two
2 tsp vegetable oil
½ cup sweet onion, sliced into thin half-moons
2 ½ tsp green Thai curry paste
2 cups coconut milk, divided
1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
¼ tsp sea salt
1 small zucchini, halved and cut into half moons
Limes, to serve
Heat oil on medium-low in a pan with a lid. Add the onion and cook until translucent- approximately 3-4 minutes. Try not to get any colour on the onions as this shows up in the white sauce.
Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in half of the coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes or until the milk turns slightly golden. Lightly season the halibut with salt.
Add the fish sauce, zucchini and the other cup of coconut milk to the pan, simmer for another 2 minutes and then add the halibut.
Spoon sauce over the fish, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until fish begins to separate or flakes easily with a fork. Remove from heat, stir in salt, a squeeze of lime and then taste for seasoning. Serve over steamed rice with a wedge of lime.
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