COMFORTING CLASSICS : Coconut Curry with Cilantro Gremolata

I had a bunch of cilantro from a CSA share and I wasn’t interested. Let me explain. It’s late September and for me, cilantro season is over (until deepest winter when I am dying to lay my eyes on anything vivid and green). Cilantro is fresh, spicy, and tasting of green things. My palette is moving on, desiring rich and dark and creamy – it’s desiring something below the earth, not of the surface. So what to do? My cilantro recipe needed grounding, it needed to be broken down, assimilated, matured. Pairing it with a rich, red curry helps, but making it into a slurry with garlic and dark green olive oil folds it into the season. Don’t worry, the transitional nature of this time of year is preserved – lemon zest and juice add the brightness of the last summer days.

COCONUT CURRY WITH CILANTRO GREMOLATA serves 4

Time to prepare : 30 minutes…Ease : Minimal Effort

For the Gremolata (can be made ahead*)

  • Bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4c plus 1 T virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp fish sauce
  • Splash of water, if needed to thin

In a blender, whirl all ingredients on low until well combined and all the cilantro is minced (consistency should be like a slightly runny pesto). Set aside.

*If made ahead, seal snugly and refrigerate. Before starting the curry, remove from the fridge and bring back to room temperature. You can also use a hot water bath, if necessary.

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For the Curry

  • 13.66 oz can coconut milk (seriously, 13.66 oz?!? Can’t they just make it 14?)

  • 2-3 T red curry paste

  • 2 tsp lemon zest (from 1 lg lemon)

  • 2 T fish sauce

  • 1 T dark brown sugar

  • 2-4 chicken breasts, meat cooked and then cubed to bite-sized
  • cooked white rice, for serving (about 1 cup per person)

Combine all ingredients (except the chicken) in a deep frying pan, simmer until flavors mingle and combine, about 10 min. (If you like your curry thicker, continue simmering until the desired consistency is reached.) Once the curry has thickened, add the chopped chicken and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve on top of cooked white rice and top with 1T gremolata.

*I had some leftover edamame, so I threw it in. Feel free to add some cooked peas, though I would reduce the sugar then, by half.

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