Ingredient Challenge: Baby Pineapple, Baby Potatoes, Fresh Coconut
By Dennis Linden
This month’s challenge ingredients were re-purposed into a delicious plate that combines the flavors of five separate components. Three of these parts could be served as either standalone dishes or sides with other pairings; the other two--a buttery sauce and a spicy relish--could also complement an array of vegetable dishes or main entrées. Chef Daniel Garcia, Chef de Cuisine at The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar
in Tustin, CA, shows off his culinary imagination in a recipe that brings together the traditional pairing of kale and roasted potatoes with flavors more associated with tropical fare. The combination works deliciously to augment a simply marinated swordfish steak with an unexpected cast of supporting flavors.
This is also a very fun dish to prepare if you like to manage recipes that have parts that must come together quickly in the final few moments, especially when serving a fresh fish that loses temperature quickly. Actually, the recipe is not that difficult to put together since Chef Daniel lets the natural flavors of each fresh ingredient do all the work, choosing simplicity in prepping each layer of this very tasty dish. Complexity is a much over-used word in culinary-speak, but this dish really is a successful mix of some contrasting flavors that belies each component’s simple preparation. The plating is even a little whimsical, that further masks some pretty serious flavors. That all sounds pretty complex to me, so I have to say it!
Chef Daniel’s Coconut-Pineapple Relish is probably the most versatile component in this recipe. While perfectly paired with his perfectly marinated swordfish, I can envision using this tasty condiment to perk up most any white fish, roast chicken or pork dish. Chef says to chill it; I found that the flavors improve if left to ripen overnight. The key to getting the right texture and flavor balance to this component is a very small, consistent-sized dice of the BIG FOUR – pineapple
, bell pepper
. For those with heat-sensitive palates, I guess the cayenne could be optional; however, I thought Chef Daniel’s light sprinkle, proportionally, gave the relish personality and added a pleasant kick to the dish overall. To enjoy the fruit flavors to their fullest, bring this relish back to room temperature before plating.
The chef’s Coconut Butter Sauce plays a subtle, but important, role in this recipe. The sauce acts as a “connector” element that provides a binding flavor for the kale and potato mix. Garnishing the plate with this interesting sauce ensures that its ginger-lemony-buttery tang finds its way onto most every forkful. Though many recipes suggest that thirty minutes is good enough, I steeped the ginger in a vinegar mixture overnight to maximize that distinctly pickled flavor. Shorten the time; shorten the flavor. This sauce does take a few minutes of focus; it may be necessary to remove the saucepan from the flame a few times, stirring constantly, to keep the coconut milk at a simmer without boiling. Again, Chef Daniel’s sauce should also be filed separately in your recipe collection for use later to complement any number of vegetable sautés or even drizzled over this same grilled swordfish, instead of the relish! It’s a sauce with a multitude of possibilities that I will definitely use again with another cast of ingredients.
Kale and Red Grapes! What a great texture combination -- just lightly sautéed with some garlic and olive oil. Stop right there and one has a simple and healthy side dish. The same goes for Chef Daniel’s roasted Baby Dutch Yellow® potatoes simply treated with his herb mix and garlic -- another perfectly tasty standalone side dish. It’s the special touch of the professional that thinks to combine the two with a lacing of the chef’s Coconut Butter Sauce. Another tasty combination to file away to serve separately!
This recipe, in spite of having several parts, is still a good one to prepare for a group of dinner guests with minimal fuss by the host. Prepare the relish and pickled ginger ahead of time. Also get the fish marinating long before guests arrive. Chef says 30 minutes; I say the longer the better! If all ingredients have been diced, sliced and measured out beforehand, the rest of the dish can be prepared while the potatoes are roasting. Time the kale sauté to be done when the potatoes are finished so the two can be folded together and then kept warm in a cooling oven while the fish is grilled last. Chef Daniel added one more detail to his instructions for preparing this dish or doing anything in the kitchen -- have fun! He provides a recipe that makes that bit of advice very easy, and fun, to follow. Enjoy!
Grilled Swordfish with Coconut-Pineapple Relish, Roasted Baby Potatoes/Wilted Green Kale Laced in Coconut Butter Sauce
4-8 ounce Swordfish Steaks
Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes
, cut in half
2 bunches of Lacinato Kale
, stemmed, rough chopped medium pieces
36 Red Seedless Grapes
, halved (retain 12-16 pieces uncooked for garnish)
2 ounces Fresh Herb Mix -- Rosemary
and Italian Parsley
, fine chopped
4 ounces Fresh Garlic
2 ounces Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Fresh Lemon
8 >Italian Parsley
Springs for garnish
Coconut-Pineapple Relish [recipe included below]¹
Coconut Butter Sauce [recipe included below]²
¹Coconut-Pineapple Relish prep:
½ South African Baby Pineapple
, small diced
½ Red Onion
, small diced
1 each Red Bell Pepper
, small diced
½ Quick Crack Coconut
meat, small diced
1 bunch Cilantro
2 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
2 ounces Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 each Fresh Lemons
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Black Pepper TT
Grill pineapple, red onion and red bell pepper until onion is translucent.
Then toss all ingredients together in a stainless steel bowl, mix thoroughly and allow to chill.
2Coconut Butter Sauce prep:
8 ounces Coconut milk
4 ounces Lemon Grass
, minced, center part only
2 ounces Pickled Ginger, minced
(Parboil 2 ounces Fresh Ginger
, then steep in 4 ounces Rice Vinegar and 2 Tablespoons Sugar or Agave Syrup
for 30 minutes)
8 ounces Unsalted Butter, 1 ounce Cubes separated
Salt and white Pepper TT
In a small pan melt a 2 ounces cube of butter, sauté ginger and lemongrass for 2 minutes.
Add coconut milk; bring to a simmer for 3 minutes, then melt in remaining butter.
Remove from heat, strain to creamy smooth.
Toss baby potatoes in half the herb mix, 1 ounce garlic, 1 Tablespoon olive oil and salt TT
Roast in preheated oven at 350° for 25 minutes.
In a large pan, sauté 1 ounce of minced garlic in 1 Tablespoon olive oil for one minute.
Add in red grapes halves, green kale, season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
Sauté this mixture for another 5 minutes, until kale is wilted.
Fold in baby potatoes and half the coconut butter sauce.
Keep warm until ready to plate.
Marinate 30 minutes in the olive oil, half of herbs mix, 1 ounce minced garlic.
Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Grill for 4 minutes on each side.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice on fish just before plating.
Spoon a tall serving of the Kale & Potato mixture in the center of dish.
Place Swordfish on top of this mixture.
Top with Relish and a garnish with 1 sprig of parsley.
Swirl coconut butter around edge of plate along with a few grape halves.