Bringing friends together for dinner is tricky at the moment, but our huge (5 foot square) dining room table is perfect for 4 couples to dine at a comfortable distance, so I offered to cook dinner for some friends. We had a narrow window, with Nell arriving a few weeks later than usual this year and Meg having to head out to get back to her year round home to return to work. After a week of texting, we finally found a date that worked for everyone, which turned out to be the Thursday evening before the Club Championship weekend. Friday was qualifying and we were all playing, but our tee-times were not too early, so it was a go.
After checking with everyone about allergies and aversions, I decided to go with predominantly Thai dinner. Cape Fish & Lobster had some beautiful Striped Bass (Striper), so I grabbed it, since it’s a short season. Striper is a “Quota” fish, which is established each year to promote sustainability, and when the quota has been reached, that’s it, the season is over. Striper with Red Curry Sauce and Mango Salsa was the main event with Thai Peanut Noodles and Thai Watermelon Salad rounding out the main course. I had made this exact dinner when the Lynches were in town for a visit, and my sister in law, Julia, proclaimed it “the best thing I ever ate” (wait, isn’t that a show??), so I thought it was a safe bet. Lisa had more tuna (“Heaps of Tuna), so ceviche was a must for a starter. The verdict: a Winner! Nell said she could make a whole meal out of the watermelon salad, and Lisa proclaimed the Asador (grillmaster Dennis) had cooked the fish perfectly. We decided it’s a new tradition, as it was clearly good luck . . . Lisa and I were medalists in our respective flights for Qualifying and Nell went on to win the Club Championship!
I made a fresh batch of Red Curry Paste using anchovy paste in lieu of the traditional shrimp paste, since Nell is allergic to shrimp. The lemongrass, galangal and dried chilies are not readily available at the Cape, and so I ordered on line. I think I may have overdone it with the 5 pound bag of red chilies… I guess I will be coming up with more recipes using them, perhaps some New Mexico inspired dishes will be coming soon. In the meantime, I have a huge batch of Red Curry Paste . . . if you’re in the area and would like some, send me a note!
- 1 Cup Freshly squeezed Lime Juice
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeds removed Fresh
- 1 Bunch Cilantro, leaves & stems, rinsed
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 pound Ahi Tuna, sushi grade
- 1 Avocado, cut into 1/2" cubes
- Place first 5 ingredients in a blender (Vitamix) and puree until smooth
- Cut tuna into 1/2" cubes and place in a glass or plastic bowl (not metal) and pour sauce over to coat entirely. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Add avocado and gently toss.
- Garnish with red onion slices and serve with tortilla chips.
- A super sharp knife is key to cutting the tuna. Placing in the freezer for 15 minutes will allow for easier slicing without tearing.
- Simply tear the cilantro from just above the rubber band or twist tie and rinse.
- This is best made just before you wish to serve, as the longer the fish sits in the marinade, the more it cooks.
- 2 Ripe Mangoes, peeled, pitted & chopped
- 1/2 Cup Red Onion, finely chopped 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped 1/2 large or 1 small bell pepper
- 1/2 Cup fresh Cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced finely
- 2 TBSP Honey
- 2 TBSP freshly squeezed Lime Juice
- 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
- Mix all ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl (glass or plastic).
- Allow to sit for an hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld and juices to release.
THAI PEANUT NOODLES
- Food Processor
- 6 Cloves of Garlic
- ¼ Cup chopped fresh Ginger about 3” piece
- ½ Cup Tahini Paste
- 2/3 Cup Peanut Butter smooth or chunky
- ½ Cup Soy Sauce or Tamari for gluten free
- ½ Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- ¼ Cup Sesame Oil
- ¼ Cup Honey
- 1 Fresno or Jalapeno chili seeded
- ½ tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1-2 tsp Hot Chili Oil
- 1 Red Bell Pepper julienned
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper julienned
- ½ bunch of Scallions white and green parts, thinkly sliced on diagonal
- ½ Cup fresh Cilantro leaves only, washed and chopped
- 2 TBSP Thai Basil leaves chopped (optional)
- 1 pound Pad Thai Rice Noodles or traditional Spaghetti or Linguine
- Place garlic, ginger and chili pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse several times until finely minced, scraping down the sides.
- Add all remaining ingredients, except chili oil, and process until smooth. Taste for spice and add 1-2 tsp chili oil if you prefer a bit more heat.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. (If using Thai rice noodles, make sure to stir frequently so that they don’t stick. Taste for doneness, as I find they may take longer than the package indicates.)
- While the pasta is cooking, pour 1 cup of the peanut sauce into the bottom of a large serving bowl.
- Drain noodles and immediately toss with the sauce in the bowl, adding a bit more sauce if needed to completely coat the noodles. You don’t need to drain too well, as a bit of hot pasta water helps to loosen the sauce.
- Allow the noodles to sit for 10 minutes or so to absorb the sauce, adding a bit more sauce if it seems tight. You don’t want the pasta drowning in sauce, but you want it well coated.
- Add the peppers, scallions and cilantro and toss well. Garnish with a bit more chopped cilantro, Thai Basil leaves and thinly sliced Fresno chilies (if desired).
- Peanut Sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Peanut Sauce is also great as a dipping sauce for grilled chicken, pork, beef or tuna Satay.
- Add a Tablespoon of lime juice & fish sauce to thin it out a bit and use as a marinade for tuna satay, which is common in Bali.
- The noodles are delicious hot, room temperature or cold the next day.
- Serve as a side dish or add a protein, such as grilled chicken, steak, shrimp or pan seared tuna for a complete dish.
- My Asian Marinade/Sauce recipe pairs really well with the noodles.
THAI WATERMELON SALAD
- 6 TBSP freshly squeezed Lime Juice
- 1 TBSP Fish Sauce
- 1 TBSP Sambal Oleek or other Asian Chili Sauce
- 1 TBSP fresh Ginger, finely minced or grated on microplane
- 1 tsp Honey
- 1 Large Watermelon (seedless), but into 1 1/2" chunks (8 cups)
- 1 bunch Scallions, thinly sliced on diagonal (8 scallions)
- 8 Radishes, thinly sliced *Optional
- 2 Fresno Chilies, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 3/4 Cup Cilantro leaves, chopped *Mint may be substituted
- 3/4 Cup Thai Basil leaves, torn
- Whisk dressing ingredients together until well blended.
- Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.
- Garnish with extra Thai Basil leaves.