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During a brief trip to visit my sister in California, we were constantly busy … taking long walks along the ocean, eating ice cream and candy at local spots, having lunch at Gayle’s bakery, and visiting with her kids and my great nieces and nephews. At the end of our final day, we were worn out and Susan pulled a coconut fish stew out of the freezer to have for dinner along with some excellent sourdough bread.
I ate one spoonful of the soup and told her I needed the recipe. I took a photo of her printed copy and a few weeks later I made it along with some brown rice for a very filling meal. I came home to Seattle and Googled the recipe, hoping to find the author and discovered this was from Melissa Clark at the New York Times. Thank you, Melissa!
I love Asian based flavors: coconut milk, lemongrass, fish sauce, cilantro and basil. And of course we are lucky enough to always have great fresh fish in the Pacific Northwest. My soup came out just like my sister’s and I froze a tiny carton for some evening in the future when I get home late and just crave something nourishing and warming. An added plus here is that it takes no time at all to put all of this together. The hardest part is gathering the ingredients!
Amazing Coconut Fish Soup*
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 3 Tbsp thinly sliced shallots
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 ½ cups chicken stock (I used Better than Bouillon)
- 2 lemongrass stalks, peeled and cut into 2-inch segments then pounded and sliced very thin.
- 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced. (I used a little less due to my husband’s taste buds.)
- 2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt (You can add more at the end to taste)
- Grated zest of 1 lime
- 1 lb snapper filet or other firm fish, cut into 1 ½ inch chunks-shrimp (or scallops work too)
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
- ½ lime, juiced (save the other half and slice into wedges to serve the soup)
- Cooked rice or quinoa to serve
Place a 5-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the oil and let it warm, then put in the shallots and garlic, stir until everything is softened but not burnt. Add the stock, lemongrass, coconut milk and jalapeno, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and lime zest. Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.
Stir in the lime juice, seafood and herbs. I turn off the heat at this point and let the rest steep in the liquid for five minutes.
Ladle over rice or quinoa and serve with lime wedges.
*Tweaked from Melissa Clark’s NYTimes recipe