White fish fillets, flaky and soft, coated in a creamy coconut sauce infused with spirited ginger, alluring lemon zest, and garden fresh thyme and mint. Yes, please. There are six key flavours in this delightful dish, and they come together so easily. I’ve added this to my Dinner Party Recipe List – it’s lovely.
White Fish in a Creamy Coconut Sauce with Ginger, Lemon, Thyme and Mint
Throughout spring and summer, I can’t grow enough mint. I always have two varieties planted in big pots, but it never seems to be enough for both using fresh and for drying. Looks like I’ll have to grow more, especially as for dishes such as this poached White Fish fillet, it’s good to have a decent quantity. My thyme, on the other hand, needs to be kept under control. Since transplanting it from pots into the ground, it has spread to form a cushiony coverlet on both sides of the gate. Nestled up tight against the lush strawberries, right now it’s mauve flower heads are bobbing merrily in springtime joyfulness. It seems an unsual combination – fish, thyme and mint – but you’ll see that all the different flavours come together magically and the sauce really sings.
Fresh fish is always best, but frozen works just as well. Just remember to take the fillet out in time for it to defrost slowly. I use a big fillet of persico, which I believe is translated as perch, but any white fish will be fine. Just make sure it’s thick enough that it won’t fall apart as it cooks.
Cut the leek into thin rectangles, like those lovely wooden counting blocks that we played with in preschool. And use a good quality vegetable peeler ( I love this one) to remove the rind – no pith! – from the lemon, and then mince it with a wibble wobble see-saw blade – what are they called? A mezzaluna . Don’t mince it too fine – you want that zestiness to sit nicely on your tongue.
If you have time, make the sauce an hour or so in advance so that the flavours have time to mingle. I poach the fish just before serving as opposed to letting it marinate because I want the fish to take on the flavour of the sauce, not the other way round.
This is wonderful with cauliflour, riced or mashed, and with steamed leafy greens on the side. Serve it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a grinding of sea salt.
Looking for more fish recipes? Try this Salmon Salad with Fennel and Orange.
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- 400 grams thick white fish fillet
- 15 cm leek
- 1 lemon
- 5 cm stub of ginger
- ½ cup firmly packed mint leaves
- ¼ cup firmly packed thyme
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon course iodised sea salt
- Cut the fish fillet into 1½ inch / 4 cm cubes.
- Peel the lemon using a good vegetable peeler, making sure the rind is free of pith. Using a sharp kitchen knife or a mezzaluna, mince to a course zest.
- Cut the leek in half, then slice lengthways so you have half-cylinders. Continue slicing lengthwise into thin rectangles.
- Peel the ginger and mince finely.
- Roughly chop the mint leaves. Just below the fresh thyme tips, pinch the stems between two fingers and slide them down to remove the leaves. Discard any woody stems. The fresh tips are fine.
- Heat a large frypan over a medium heat and add the coconut oil. Add the leek and sautè gently until soft, about 5 minutes, Add the lemon zest, ginger, mint, thyme, and salt and stir through for 2 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, bring to a slow simmer, and pop on the lid. Continue simmering for 5 minutes. (At this point, if you have time to spare, turn the heat off and let the flavours mingle. Warm the sauce just again just before adding the fish.)
- Add the fish and cook for two minutes, then gently turn over, making sure each piece is well coated with sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until done.