I made a sandwich for dinner the other night. I never do that. OK, not never, obviously, but rarely. Like twice a year. And it wasn’t because I was feeling lazy. I love spending time cooking dinner almost as much as I love eating it. Plus I get to sip a Manhattan while cooking :-).
It was because I had started thinking about the sandwiches at the Mediterranean Kitchen in Damariscotta, and I started craving one. Every time I get one of those Italians, I tell the owner it was the best sandwich I’ve ever had. And as I was eating the one I made the other night, I said to myself, aloud, “This is the best sandwich I’ve ever had.”
I meant it.
I have this thing about eating really good food. As my friend Sue Witt once pointed out, I tend to think that whatever fabulous thing I’m eating at the time is my absolute favorite food.
Anyway, this week’s column isn’t about sandwiches. I told you about the ADD issue last week and you may as well get used to it.
I promised you a fabulously ridiculous recipe for this week. I came across one on Gina Perry’s Facebook page: “Ziggy Marley’s coconut dream fish.” She got it from the Parade website. The headline was “Reach the Three Sublime Stages of Coconutiness With Ziggy Marley’s Coconut Dream Fish.” I didn’t feel I had a choice.
It calls for sea bass, and that’s what Gina, who lives in Florida, used the first time she made it. But don’t go looking for it in Maine. You can get a Maine farm-raised hybrid striped bass or black sea bass (not from Maine waters) in a Portland fish market, though.
Or you can do what I do. Wing it. I’ve now made my own version, with a few variations, three times, with haddock, chicken, and shrimp in place of the sea bass. It was totally sublime each time.
Sublime: I like that word. I Googled it: “… of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe.” Synonyms are: exalted, elevated, lofty, awe-inspiring, majestic, magnificent, glorious, superb, wonderful, marvelous, and splendid. I love all those words, and will try to remember them for future reference.
Then there’s “elegant,” my mother’s favorite word. She died in April. We won’t get into that, but as so many of my favorite recipes came from her, and because she was so totally elegant, you’re going to hear a lot about her as time goes on.
OK, you can either Google Ziggy’s recipe, from his book, the “Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook,” or you can just use my revised recipe. I only changed a couple little things, like ground allspice rather than allspice berries, and chicken stock rather than vegetable. I also used good ground ginger in place of fresh, though I do love fresh grated.
OK, here ya go!
Make a Manhattan, and start sipping.
Get some rice cooking. My favorite is jasmine, and it goes great with this dish.
Heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil in a good-sized pan and fry shrimp, fish of your choice, or chicken, till cooked (duh). I pounded chicken breasts to make thinner and more tender. Remove from pan.
Throw a couple teaspoons of stock or broth, some chopped garlic, and around 1/4-cup chopped Vidalia onion into the hot oil and stir around for a couple minutes. Add thinly sliced sweet and hot peppers of your choice. I’m not big on giving measurements or amounts, but will be happy to advise you of those things if you need them. (See email address below.)
Now stir in a teaspoon ginger, a teaspoon curry powder, and 1/2-tsp allspice. If you like a little heat, throw in 1/2-tsp cayenne pepper or a few dashes of Tabasco, or other hot sauce. Add around 1/2-cup stock and 1/2-cup coconut milk, and stir till bubbly.
Throw, or place gently, the fish, chicken, or shrimp in, and heat through. Transfer the ridiculously heavenly smelling goodness to a pretty platter, and finish your Manhattan.
Serve over or with rice and some wedges of lime. I toasted some coconut and mixed some into the rice, and sprinkled some over the finished plate.
As Ziggy said in his cookbook, “… while eating this you’ll reach the three stages of ‘coconutiness’ and upon consuming, likely transcend into a state of pure bliss.” He wasn’t whistling Dixie.
Gina said she cooked the dreamy stuff again for some friends, “… and all you could hear over dinner was ‘mmmmm!'” Which is exactly all I could hear when I cooked it for my sister last week.
And the beat goes on. See ya next week.
(Suzi Thayer paints, feeds stray cats, eats good food, and drinks Manhattans. She’d love to hear from you with ideas and recipes for the column. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)