Sunday, January 3, 2010

Spiced Banana Sole

This will be in Becky Holm's Douglas County News, which is published every Wednesday.


Spiced Banana Sole
by Larisa Sparrowhawk

In the mid 80's, a date who didn't know me very well took me to a high-end restaurant in Washington, DC. Everything was marble - the tables, the floors, the walls. Plates were huge, heavy slabs and the silverware was substantial enough to pain wrists sore from typing on a persnickety word processor with sticky "a" and spacebar keys.

I was greatly intimidated. I ordered Chardonnay because I could pronounce it. I also ordered Spiced Banana Sole. I do not remember the rest of the meal, but I sure remember that fish. It arrived as a filet with tail still attached, swimming in shallots, butter and cream, the banana carmelized under a broiler. Always awkward with a knife and fork, even when a battallion of waiters with hands clasped behind their backs weren't watching, I tried to cut into the fish. It shot across the table. My knife clattered to the floor, echoing. A waiter whisked the offending fish, plate and silverware away while another waiter moved us to the next table so he could clear the soaked tablecloth. Fifteen minutes later, I received a new sizzling, heavenly smelling fish. I was mortified, but it was damn good, and fork tender so I didn't need a knife.

Here's my lower cost, lower fat interpretation for two people. You may use any white fish you prefer other than monkfish, which can be gummy.

Marinate two thawed fish fillets in a mixture of lemon and orange juices. Sprinkle lightly with ginger and nutmeg. Bake at 350 degrees until fish is just barely done. Meanwhile, sautee one chopped red onion in 2 tbsp. butter or coconut oil a few minutes, then add a second chopped red onion (for different levels of sweetness and crispness). Peel and slice two bananas lengthwise and lay them over the fish. Drizzle 1 tbsp. melted butter or coconut oil over. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne and salt. Place under broiler a few minutes, watching so it does not burn. Mix warm onions into 1/8-1/4 c. half and half or coconut cream from the top of a can of coconut milk, then poor mixture back into saucepan to warm. Salt to taste. Place onion cream on plate and use two spatulas to gently lift each fish onto plate. Serve with something colorful and crisp like red grapes and a salad.

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