Sounded Like Ceviche, Ended Up Like Deconstructed Thai Clam Chowder

22 Jan

Colleen had to travel up to LA this morning to check in with her thesis advisor. So I promised that I would sift through the interwebs and find a delicious meal to prepare when she returned (or that I could have ready for her upon her return should she arrive late). I went straight to Epicurious. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend it if you like one thing: flavor. Epicurious started as a website, but they have excellent iPad and iPhone apps that are actually free. If you want to sync your curated lists between devices you can – you just have to donate $1.99 to their culinary cause.

I found a great recipe there that was exactly what I was looking for: Lime Spiked Seafood Stew with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I love seafood. I love spices. Colleen eats seafood. It was the perfect match. I swung by the store, nabbed all the ingredients including: a Serrano Pepper, Cilantro, Heavy Cream and Red Onions. But to start were the sweet potatoes.

**Edit/Disclaimer** I’m attempting to write this blog using only my iPhone to take and edit images with Camera+ and to write the posts using WordPress’ app on my iPad. Still getting “the ropes”, so the first publish was a mistake… carrying on now….

Colleen played sous-chef this evening and peeled the sweet potatoes. Then I sliced them down to about 1/2″ pieces. The ease of the peeling process due to the size of the sweet potato amazed her. She usually struggles to hold on to their smaller, brown cousins.  During this time a baking tray had heated in the oven. When the temperature hit 400 degrees, I spread all the slices out on the tray and popped it into the oven. The recipe didn’t specify that you should coat the pan with oil, or toss the potatoes in oil – but I can tell you (spoiler) do it! Otherwise they stick horribly when you actually try to remove them…you know…to eat them. I set the timer for 25 minutes and then went about prepping the rest of the ingredients.

With the onions sliced, celery diced (not too finely), and limes juiced, I turned to the fish. I took the Salmon and Scallops out of the fridge and slices them into 3/4″ pieces. I tossed the seafood with black pepper and some of the lime juice and started to saute the rest of the ingredients.

Things started to speed up now. By this time there was about 7 minutes left on the Sweet Potatoes (which were starting to smell delicious). I added the cream to the pan, and cranked up the heat until it was boiling. I folded the seafood into the mixture and then watched the timer for 5 minutes. When the timer rang, I poured the last of the lime juice into the stew and removed the potatoes from the oven.

Colleen plated the sweet potatoes into a grid of 6 slices each. I served up a steaming mound of stew on the potatoes and added extra sauce (because in reality, food is just an excuse for sauces anyhow, right?). I finished the dish by adding a sprinkling of fresh cilantro to the plates. Next time we’ll add the cilantro into the stew and let it mix up a bit (it was a bit too fresh, and the texture stuck out too much from the rest of the dish). The end result was delicious. The sweetness of the potatoes combined almost perfectly with the spiciness of the Serrano peppers, and the cilantro was reminiscent of Thai curries I’ve had in the past. Next time we may try adding coconut to the mix.

Oh! No meal is complete without adding a complimentary beverage of some sort. Based on some of the comments on Epicurious I bought a Prosecco called Lunetta from the store. It was a tart, effervescent white wine that exploded in your mouth when you drank it. It was the perfect companion to this meal. You’d take a sip and then take a bite of the stew. The tartness of the Prosecco (which was almost painful at first) led right into the spiciness of the stew, but then mellowed to include the sweetness of the underlying potatoes.

Final note to self: Serve this in a bowl in the future and grab a spoon. The broth is delicious, but doesn’t thicken. You have two choices: overcook the seafood or thicken the broth. I’ll stick with a soup-like sauce and not overcooked fish (which were cooked to perfection).

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