November greens are a sight for sore eyes. Even if they are the weedy kind, they offer a little taste of the now impatiently awaited next year’s Spring. Just when the garden is about to be gone, I begin to miss it. The cause is obvious. This gardener has not stepped outside to check on it for a few weeks.
Oh, I picked herbs here and there, but when I did, mostly confined myself near the deck, close to the kitchen, where most were grown. They were still green, protected by the side wall and a cement walkway. The ones in the garden proper were brown. Visibly so, even from the kitchen window. Making venturing into the garden an unwelcome proposition.
But today I got the urges. To go out and touch the dirt. To nibble on something fresh. To look at something living, of the botanical kind, preferably green. Considering the month, is it too much to ask? Looks like Mother Nature indulges me one last time.
How fortunate for a green-starved gardener. And how rewarding for a curious gardener. Did you see the lemongrass and the turmeric? They started as a stalk and a couple of rhizomes. They were stuck into the ground, quite casually, many months ago, and promptly ignored. Now they have bestowed a most unexpected, but welcomed, tropical harvest. In November!
So this mind flew into the tropics. Phuket, maybe, or Bali. And I brought my family with me, with this dinner, inspired by the flavors of the tropics.
Fish fillets in Turmeric & Lemongrass Sauce
4 fish fillets (flounder is good, or any other mild-flavored fish. Tilapia? Or chicken, if you’re not into fish.)
1 stalk of lemongrass, minced (mine was gigante, so I used half.)
2 smallish turmeric rhizomes, cut into slivers (about 1 inch long each, or substitute with ginger. In fact, I think ginger would be very nice, nicer than turmeric probably, but turmeric does have excellent health benefits.)
1 red hot chili pepper, thinly sliced (omit, if you can’t stand the heat.)
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
1 small carrot, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. agave nectar (or sugar, but you may need more than 1 tbsp. Agave nectar is sweeter than sugar.)
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 – 3/4 cup chicken stock (*Read the comment from ohlidia. She added coconut milk. Brilliant!)
2 – 3 tbsp. olive oil
Cilantro for garnish
Salt & pepper
Cornstarch for dredging
1. Season fish with salt & pepper, then dredge in cornstarch. Fry in a little bit of oil, until cooked and crisp. Remove and set aside.
2. Add more oil to the pan, stir lemongrass, garlic, turmeric, and chili. Cook until fragrant.
3. Add the rest of the vegetables (carrot, sweet pepper, onion).
4. Add sugar/agave nectar and let it caramelize a little.
5. Add chicken stock, oyster sauce, and vinegar. Let simmer for a couple of minutes. Return fish fillets to the pan, and move them around a little to soak up the sauce. Garnish with cilantro.
5. Serve immediately.
The rest of the family ate their fish with rice. I ate mine with a side of olive oil-massaged raw green salad, consisting of senposai, kale, arugula, and chickweed, with just a few pieces of carrot to sweeten it. I’m planning to lose a few pounds before the season’s eating begins, so I can gain them back. See, there’s a method to my madness.
Daphne’s Harvest Monday