I think we skipped spring cleaning this year which may be why we’re now doing summer cleaning. And, really, re-organizing may be a better word for what is being done. Either way, it’s always interesting to find things that have been stored away for several years that make you wonder why on earth you bothered keeping them. It’s fun to get those things straight into the trash and start filling up the space with something else. What’s even more fun is finding something you forgot you had and then putting it to use. This recipe falls into that last category. It was included in a booklet that was mailed by our grocery store, Central Market, and that was a booklet mailed several years ago. I cut out the page, filed it away, and then finally re-discovered it over the weekend. The original recipe included a pan sauteed fish, but I used grilled fish and shrimp instead. I wanted to use a light, flaky, white-fleshed fish and chose Texas redfish, and the shrimp were from the Gulf.
While the fish and shrimp were on the grill, the sauce was prepared in a saute pan on the stove. I was able to use some of my own lemongrass which I’ve been watering constantly this summer, and the peeled white ends were combined with coconut milk, lime juice, lime zest , sliced ginger, sliced serrano chiles, and salt. That was brought to a boil and stirred while boiling for five minutes. I left the lemongrass and sliced ginger in the pan as the sauce was spooned over the fish and shrimp. Then, I added some sliced, fresh serrano and chopped cilantro as garnish.
I pushed the chile heat in the sauce to the high end of the scale, but that can easily be controlled by removing the seeds and membranes from the chiles before chopping them and by reducing the amount of chiles. When I tasted the sauce, I thought it would also be great for steaming mussels or clams, and I can’t wait to try that. It’s a very low-effort sauce that delivers big flavor for a light, summery dish. I kept the meal simple by serving this with a fresh and crunchy Thai salad. This was proof that being a pack rat isn’t all bad, but why do we always think we’ll someday need those random scraps of wood and all those extra tiles?
Coconut and Lime Sauce
2 stalks lemongrass
1 c coconut milk
3 T freshly squeezed lime juice
½ t grated lime zest
8 thin slices peeled ginger
2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced (or to taste, or remove seeds and membranes and chop)
1 t salt
additional sliced serrano and chopped cilantro leaves for garnish if desired
-peel the lemongrass and trim to the white part; bruise the white parts of the stalks with the back of a knife; in a saute pan, combine the lemongrass, coconut milk, lime juice, lime zest, ginger, chile, and salt; bring to a boil, stirring frequently; boil for five minutes to reduce sauce slightly;