Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Sirius Star Salsa
Several months ago I saw someone on the teevee make a starfruit salsa. That seemed like a fun idea and I looked for starfruit at my next shopping trip. No starfruit. It's usually found in the major stores around here, so I kept an eye out for it to show up in the next few weeks.
I finally spied some yesterday and snatched it up. The seafood case had red snapper that looked and smelled fresh, and thusly armed, I headed home.
I decided to go vaguely Caribbean. While not attempting anything resembling Jerk, I did decide it was time to chop up a scotch bonnet.
Despite my declared devotion to chili, I am a somewhat wimpy when it comes to truly hot, spicy food. Cynthia, on the other hand, has a constitution of titanium, and her years in Louisiana gave her a special affinity for chiles and peppers. Cooking with her has expanded my taste and tolerance for spicy heat, and so today I am emboldened to take on the Big Kahuna, and create the Sirius Starfruit Salsa.
Sirius means "scorching" in Greek. Get it? I'm so clever...
The pepper that I bought was from a bin labeled "habanero;" I've heard several cooks refer to habeneros and scotch bonnets as the same thing but they are not: they have a slightly different shape and the flavor of the scotch bonnet is part of the distinctive taste of Caribbean cuisine. I am convinced, however, that most supermarkets stock them interchangeably. The habaneros that I found seemed to have more of the tam o'shanter shape of the scotch bonnet, and since that was my only choice anyway, what-the heck.
The starfruit was given a fine dice along with some red onion and tomato. Since the quantity of the salsa was going to be quite small, I was a little paranoid about too much of the hot pepper, so, holding the combustible fruit only by its stem, I sliced off about half, gave it a really fine chop, scooped it up with the blade of my Global and tossed it in.
I was convinced as I chopped some cilantro on the same cutting board that my hands were starting to burn, but that passed.
I splashed in some garlic juice, olive oil, pineapple juice, and a squirt of lime. Into the fridge it went.
The snapper was given a light sprinkling of curry rub and seared skin-side down. After flipping, it was simmered for a couple of minutes in pineapple juice, then removed from the pan and into a warm oven. A little coconut milk was added to the pan and reduced for about three minutes.
The snapper was presented with grilled zucchini and shoe-string parsnip fries, dotted with the pan sauce and topped with the salsa.
All in all, it was a tasty dish: the fries were crisp and sweet, the fish moist with a mild sear, and the salsa was fresh, zesty, and flavorful.
And not very hot.
I guess I took the scotch bonnet a little too siriusly.
(somebody stop me...)