A couple months ago I was approached by Whole Foods to be a guest chef on their video blog “The Secret Ingredient”. In this video segment chefs from around the country are given a “secret ingredient” and asked to come up with a dish highlighting that ingredient. The ingredient can be something as familiar as oatmeal or exotic as, well, lemongrass.
With lemongrass as my secret ingredient I chose to create a Coconut-Braised Black Cod. This dish utilizes a ton of fresh herbs and spices; fantastic dish for perking up chilly spring evenings.
With it’s lemony and herbacious perfume, I adore lemongrass. Don’t be timid if you don’t know how to use it; it’s super simple. To infuse a Thai soup I peel away the outer husks, then using the dull side of my knife, smash the bulb to break apart the fibers and expose the floral and lemon aroma and drop it in. I also use lemongrass in cocktails, muddling the bulb to extract that sexy fresh flavor.
The production of the video was so much fun! I loved the host Scott Simons, he has a great sense of humor and we really hit it off. The staff of Whole Foods was incredibly professional. We laughed and joked for most of the shoot, making for a super D’lish time.
Secret Ingredient: Lemongrass
Kathy’s Spicy Coconut Braised Black Cod with Colorful Vegetables
(Adapted from Kathy’s Spicy Coconut-Braised Lingcod with Colorful Vegetables in “Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table: Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Southern Alaska”)
Take your taste buds on a tropical adventure—any night of the week—with this quick and easy, Asian-inspired entrée. Lemongrass adds fresh lemon and bright flavor to the dish while coconut milk adds creamy richness without added cholesterol or trans fat. If black cod is unavailable in your area, substitute with lingcod, mahi mahi or rockfish fillets. Serve with steamed jasmine rice for a dish that’s elegant enough for entertaining, yet easy enough for weeknight dinners.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup bean sprouts
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 stalk fresh lemongrass
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
4 6-ounce black cod fillets, about 1-inch thick center-cut, boned and skinned
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 can (13 to 14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large carrot, julienned
4 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Lime wedges for squeezing
In a medium bowl, toss together the mint, cilantro and bean sprouts, set aside. In a small bowl, mix salt with sugar and pepper flakes, set aside. Remove the tough outer layer of the lemongrass. Smash the remaining stalk with the side of a chef’s knife or a mallet to release the oils. Finely mince and set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle each fillet with the salt mixture. Sear fish 2 minutes per side, until lightly seared and browned. Move fish to one side of the pan and add ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce, lemongrass, bell pepper, carrot and green onion to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes at a fast simmer, or until the fish is just done and opaque throughout. Stir in lime juice.
Serve fish in shallow bowls, ladling the broth and vegetables over the fish. Garnish with about a 1/4-cup of the sprout mixture and a lime wedge. Serve Colorful Jasmine Rice on the side (see recipe below).