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Thai Style Snapper Wrapped in Collard Greens

Posted May 28 2009 12:23am

This is snapper marinated in a Thai style cilantro, lemon grass, and lime salsa, wrapped in collard greens and baked in the oven. In the background are steamed purple cauliflower and red cabbage.

I had in mind a fish curry served at an Asian restaurant near my apartment in Tokyo. The restaurant has been out of business for years now, but the dish lives on in my mind. It was a white fish in a spicy curry sauce wrapped in a banana leaf and then steamed. It was fabulous, with the fish taking on the delicate flavor of the banana leaf.

Although I occasionally can find banana leaves at the supermarket, I thought it would be fun to combine an edible wrap similar to Hawaiian lau lau, pork wrapped in ti leaves and steamed, with a Thai inspired sauce. I picked up some collard greens and raided my freezer for my stash of lemongrass and lime leaves.

The result? Great ! The salsa added depth and complexity to the fish and the collard greens acted as an effective wrap for steaming. I will definitely make this again.

1 pound snapper fillet
10 medium sized collard greens
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime leaf (or lime zest), minced
1 tablespoon lemongrass, chopped
juice of 1 small lime
1 shallot, chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350. Oil well a medium sized roasting pan with olive oil and set aside.

Make salsa. In a blender, process cilantro, lime leaf, lemon grass, lime juice, shallot, ginger, garlic and salt until coarsely chopped. Spread the salsa over the fish and let marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, parboil the collard greens for 2 minutes. You want them to be just flexible enough to wrap the fish. Allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, carefully slice off the thick part of the stems.

Overlap 6 or so of the collard greens on the roasting pan so that the bottom of the pan is covered and there are no gaps. Place the fish and salsa in the middle of the pan on top of the collard greens. Cover the top of the fish with the remaining collard greens, and then wrap with the lower greens. The wrap should be fairly tight.

Bake 30 minutes or until cooked through. The fish could also be steamed.

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