Well, this was a good day, because I prepared and ate this marvelous dish. It definitely makes it on the list of my favorite meals for this year. It comes from the genius Cindy Pawlcyn, who knows how to combine flavors so well. Everything about this dish delighted me--the flavors and textures, and the simplicity in preparing it. I'll be making this again and again.
Since it contains lemongrass, I'm making that my herb of choice for Weekend Herb Blogging. Lemongrass used to be one of those ingredients that I would read about, but it was never in any of the grocery stores where I lived. But, now it's always in the stores around here. And that's a very good thing, because lemongrass has a lovely floral taste that's quite distinctive. I hope it becomes as common as bananas in groceries everywhere. This week WHB is being hosted by Katerina at Daily Unadventures In Cooking. Stop by her site and see all the great herby recipes in the Roundup. And make sure you check out Kalyn's Kitchen, our fearless leader's blog. Almost two years ago Kalyn created WHB and the anniversary celebration should be quite spectacular. Who knows what Kalyn has in store?
I love this amandine sauce so much, I would gladly eat it as a side dish. It's made from shallots, scallions, sesame seed oil, sliced almonds (hence the name of the sauce), and a lovely lemongrass and gingeroot syrup.
(Big Small Plates, By Cindy Pawlcyn)
1 stalk lemongrass
1 fresh bird's eye chili or dried red hot chili
1-1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 Tablespoons Mirin
4 thin slices peeled ginger root
3 shallots, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon peanut or canola oil
2 scallions, white and light green part thinly sliced
2-4 swordfish fillets about 6 ounces each ( or use around 12 large scallops, or mahi mahi fillets)
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Making the glaze
Peel off the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass and cut about 2 inches off the bottom of the stalk and chop coarsely and put in a small saucepan. Score the chili to open it and add to the saucepan with the mirin, ginger, and the orange juice. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a hard simmer and cook until the mixture has reduced by half and is a light syrup. Strain the solids out and set the syrup to the side.
Making the amandine sauce
(Note the original recipe calls for roasting the shallots, but I didn't so that. Feel free to do so.)
Saute the shallots and scallions in the sesame and peanut oil until the scallions have softened--about 2-3 minutes. Add the toasted almonds and cook for another minute. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of the glaze and heat until the sauce is hot. Season with salt aand pepper. Keep warm.
Wash and pat dry the swordfish. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a heavy skillet until hot (you may need to cook the fish is batches or use two skillets.) Lightly coat the skillet with oil, then put the fillets in when the pan is very hot, turning the heat down to medium high if it looks like it might burn the fish. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, and just before turning over baste with some of the glaze. (Make sure your oven hood is on because this will make some smoke). Cook on the other side about 3-4 minutes, basting with the glaze once more, checking the interior of the fish with the tip of a knife. You want the fish to still be moist in the center. (DO NOT OVERCOOK, NOTHING IS WORSE THAN OVERCOOKED SWORDFISH. DO NOT COOK UNTIL THE FISH "FLAKES". BY THEN IT'S TOO LATE.) When the fish is done, plate it with some of the amandine sauce on top and chopped cilantro and sesame seeds.