The Asian ingredients in this recipe are widely available in supermarkets with good import sections. Serve this curry with steamed Chinese snow peas and rice. Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes.
Sunset MARCH 2006
1. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a medium pan over medium heat. When hot, add shallots and garlic; stir often until limp, about 2 minutes.
2. Trim ends from lemon grass stalks and peel off tough outer layers; crush with the flat side of a large knife, then cut into lengths that will fit in your pan. Stir curry paste, ginger, turmeric, and the lemon grass into pan; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, and lime peel; simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove lemon grass. Add salt to taste.
3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°. Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and pepper. Pour remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil into a large ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat. Add fish and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn pieces and transfer pan to oven. Bake just until fish is opaque in center of thickest part, about 8 minutes.
4. Spoon curry sauce onto four plates and top with fish.
Wine pairing: Off-dry but crisp Riesling, with aromatic citrus, apple, and tropical notes over good minerals. Best in our pairing: Poet's Leap 2004 (Columbia Valley, WA; $22), V. Sattui off-dry Johannisberg 2004 (Napa Valley; $18), and Firestone 2004 (Central Coast, CA; $10).
Flavor bridges: A little sugar in the Riesling matches the sweetness and tames the spice in the dish. Low alcohol and fruitiness lower the heat too. Sweetness in the wine also gives it weight--viscosity--to match the mouth-feel of the coconut milk. Good acid, on the other hand, cuts through that richness for a mouthwatering effect (a flabby wine would go flat). Citrus and tropical notes echo the lemon grass, lime, ginger, and aromatic spices in the curry.
Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
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