An Unforgettable Curried Fish

After listening to the interview of Maricel Presilla on The Splended Table (APR), I decided to try an adobo (marinade) she casually mentioned as her “go-to” for a piece of steak (or fish:

MP: When I get home from the market with a piece of steak – or maybe fish – my instinctive reaction is to grab the mortar and pestle, and crush garlic to a paste together with black peppercorns, salt, and allspice. I’m from Eastern Cuba where there is a tradition of using allspice. Then I add cumin, a bit of oregano, and Seville orange juice. When I don’t have Seville orange juice, I go for beautiful orange juice with a bit of lime; sometimes I add the zest of a grapefruit just to approximate the flavor of Seville orange. With that, I marinate everything. This technique basically comes from the Spanish Middle Ages. We hear the word adobo in medieval Spanish text, and if there’s something they did not use, maybe it was the citrus juice; in some cases, they used vinegar. And they didn’t use allspice because allspice is from the New World. But they did use black peppercorns.

I bought a sole filet (half a pound), and guessed at the proportions for the adobo. (I think a white fish is best for this dish). Serves 2:

  • Mash 3 (small) cloves of garlic in a mortar
  • Add 1 teaspoon of Oregano, 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds, 1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns, 1 teaspoon whole Allspice. Crush with the Garlic. (I omitted the salt because I looked at other recipes and decided to add it later). Add to this mix:
  • Juice of 1/2 tangerine (Caribbean oranges are very sweet, so this seemed worth a try)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Zest of 1/2 grapefruit

Spread a large spoonful of the adobo into a ceramic or glass container, place fish on top and cover with the remaining adobo. Rub it in, flipping the the filet once or twice to distribute the flavoring. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for 24 hours.

To cook, cut the fish into two portions and sprinkle with sea salt. Heat a large saute pan on medium/high heat and add a couple of tablespoons of Ghee (clarified butter with a very high smoke point) (you could substitute avocado oil or peanut oil for the ghee). Carefully slide the fish into the pan (watch for splatter!) and cook a couple of minutes on each side (or more if you are using a thicker fish, like halibut).

This tasted delicious with a very simple preparation. The cumin gave a distinct but layered curry flavor–and next time I would serve it with a wedge of lime. But what would make it just like the unforgettable curried fish dish I had for lunch at Good Hope in Jamaica years ago, is the addition of a creamy curry sauce.

Curry Sauce (serves 4):

2 tablespoons ghee, avocado, or peanut oil
1 large onions, peeled and chopped
1 inch knob of ginger, grated or 1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder or turmeric
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Zest of one lime
Thai Red Curry paste to taste (optional, 1 teaspoon)
Thai fish sauce (optional, 1-2 Tablespoons)
Chopped basil or mint or cilantro for garnish (optional)

Saute the onions until soft and golden (10 min), and add the rest of the ingredients (except the garnish). Simmer on low for 10 minutes until thickened. Serve over the fish (with rice if you wish).

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Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings (Keto friendly)

Awesome Recipe for Chicken Wings

My favorite cookbooks are like conversations between cooks. Now that the internet has introduced Pinterest and Youtube to the equation, the conversation has gotten livelier. This recipe is a conversation between a heavy metal musician and an Episcopal priest–should be interesting.

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Braised Chicken with Greek flavors (Slow Cooker)


This recipe is adapted from a cookbook I am enjoying: The Chef and the Slow Cooker, by Hugh Acheson. To adapt it to a keto friendly dish (10 carbs per serving of two thighs and one fourth of the stew by my math), I ditched the farro, and reduced the broth accordingly. As it is winter, I used some San Marzano tomatoes I canned in the summer instead of the heirloom tomatoes the chef specifies, but certainly commercial canned San Marzanos would be perfect. Acheson’s recipe includes rosemary, feta and kalamata olives, so I doubled down on the Greek flavors with a spice blend called Greek Freak, which is sold as a rub, but works for general use. It includes garlic, onion, orange peel, chili pepper, and parsley, from a company based in Spokane, WA.

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Beef Pho (Slow Cooker version)

This recipe is Gluten free, and if made with Miracle Noodles (Konjac), and Monkfruit sugar is also keto friendly.

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Gretl’s Austrian Mushroom Soup

Gretl had a restaurant on a ski mountain in Colorado.

It probably reminded her of Austria, her country of origin. Every day she went up the mountain with the ski patrol, and cooked just the kind of food you want in winter weather. She made an amazing apple strudel, and this creamy soup.

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Keto-the new low-carb

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The day my close friend Karen recommended that I try an Alsatian fish dish with cream sauce, and sauerkraut on the side–well, let’s just say I had a strong reaction of certainty I wouldn’t like it. If anyone else had suggested it I wouldn’t have even considered making it–but Karen and I like lots of the same foods. We were college roommates, and then shared an apartment later. And we both have family roots in Central Europe so maybe some of our tastebuds are genetically programmed.

One early adventure: when we were broke college students, after the rain she showed up with a paper bag stuffed with mushrooms she had picked! and informed me we were having Czech cream of mushroom soup for dinner. I thought I was going to die. Or, that maybe I was going to die, or at least get excruciating stomach pains and wish I was going to die. But Karen is wicked smart, exhaustively thorough, and she was absolutely certain she knew this mushroom from lifelong mycological field identification with her father. We didn’t die, and it was delicious.

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Smoking Bishop

This Christmas season I brought a new/old tradition to Salem–Smoking Bishop, a Victorian Wassail which is something like a hot Sangria punch.


At St. John’s in Hingham, we enjoyed it after our service of Lessons and Carols, but this year I served it at an open house with a bit of a literary bent. Smoking Bishop is mentioned in the last page of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas CarolContinue reading

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