Some time ago, for no apparent reason, I suddenly remembered a recipe called fish fillets Bahia style, rolled-up fish fillets simmered in a tomato sauce with onions, garlic, coconut milk and chili. It was in one of my mother's cookbooks (one of the fabulously retro ones from the Betty Bossi editions- every Swiss household has at least one) which my sister and I sometimes looked through, an activity we typically used to entertain ourselves with, when already very hungry, we had to wait for our father to come home so we could have dinner. Of course, looking at pictures of food made us even more hungry. What can I say - we were a bit silly like that. My mother never made the Bahia style fish, I'm sure of that, but I suddenly decided to give it a go, tweaking the original recipe (if there is such as thing) a bit to make it more interesting.
Fish fillets Bahia style (serves 2)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, cut into strips
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 hazelnut-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 150g canned, chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon italian parsley, chopped
- 1 dl coconut milk
- a little dried chili or a few drops tabasco (optional)
- juice of one lime
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 300g fillets of sea bass or other fish fillets
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until the onion and garlic are soft, but not browned. Add the tomatoes and sugar and simmer over low heat for about fifteen to twenty minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the coconut milk, half of the lime juice, parsley, chili or tabasco if using and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for another five minutes. Drizzle the fish with the remaining lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Cut into 3cm-wide strips (or roll up if using thinner fillets) and place in the sauce. Cover and simmer over low heat for ten to fifteen minutes. Serve with basmati rice.
It tasted nice. The tomatoes, garlic and onion are a classic combination, to which the ginger, lime juice, coconut milk and chili add an exotic touch without being over the top, even for more conservative tastes.