Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Recipes and menu ideas for fish with Thai coconut red curry sauce, blackened skipjack tuna, green beans with mushrooms and herbs, shrimp scampi, Southern tomato pie, and pork Milanese.

Recipes and menu ideas: fish with Thai coconut red curry sauce, blackened skipjack tuna, green beans with mushrooms and herbs, shrimp scampi, Southern tomato pie, and pork Milanese.

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Ocean Isle Beach

We spent a few days visiting cousins who were vacationing at our regular coastal haunt, Ocean Isle Beach—where I met my honey. Usually when we stay on OIB, we hardly ever leave the island except for grocery shopping. But this time we had an early dinner at Makai Brewing Company. Enjoyed a few beers while listening to two guys doing 90s covers.

The brewery is connected by a hallway to an Italian market. This place used to be The Butcher of Brunswick, but I can’t remember what it’s called now. I enjoyed something I haven’t had in a long time, a meatball sub.

The next night we ate at Dockside Seafood House Restaurant in Calabash. We sat outside so we could enjoy the water view. The inside has that dated old school look, no surprise since this place has been in business since 1955. Calabash is a renowned style of fried seafood in these parts. The fish or shellfish is only lightly battered, just enough to give it the fried taste but without the heaviness of regular fried food. I enjoyed a big plate of flounder, scallops and oysters.

Recipes and menu ideas for fish with Thai coconut red curry sauce, blackened skipjack tuna, green beans with mushrooms and herbs, shrimp scampi, Southern tomato pie, and pork Milanese.

Thai Coconut Red Curry Sauce

On another hot evening, I went back to one of my tried and true recipes, fish with Thai coconut red curry sauce. I pulled some cod from the freezer for this one. My recipe has evolved a bit from the original. I add red bell pepper and garlic, a whole can of coconut milk, brown sugar instead of regular sugar, and a mix of fresh basil, Thai basil and mint. This time I also added julienned collards to the dish too and served it over jasmine rice.

Recipes and menu ideas for fish with Thai coconut red curry sauce, blackened skipjack tuna, green beans with mushrooms and herbs, shrimp scampi, Southern tomato pie, and pork Milanese.

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Herbs

We loved the blackened amberjack I made recently so I decided to make blackened skipjack tuna. For one of the sides, I roasted a mix of sweet and new potatoes with some sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder and sea salt, and green beans with mushrooms and herbs.

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Herbs

  • Olive oil
  • 3 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 4 to 8 ounces cremini and/or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds green beans
  • 1/2 cup or more diced tomato
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth (plus extra just in case)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, parsley or basil or a combo
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil. When the oil is hot, add bacon, let cook for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and onions, cook a few minutes, until they’re starting to soften a bit. Add garlic. Cook 1 minute, or until the garlic starts to golden.

Add green beans and tomatoes, toss it all together. Cook for a few minutes, stirring. Add a little chicken broth and cook (covered if you want to speed it along) until the liquid evaporates or green beans are crisp-tender, whichever comes first. If the broth evaporates before the beans are done, add some more. When done, toss with herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Recipes and menu ideas for fish with Thai coconut red curry sauce, blackened skipjack tuna, green beans with mushrooms and herbs, shrimp scampi, Southern tomato pie, and pork Milanese.

Shrimp Scampi

I got a pound of North Carolina brown shrimp in my CSF share and made one of the most satisfying dishes ever, shrimp scampi with pasta.

Shrimp used to be a luxury, remember that? Now you can buy cheap packages of frozen Asian shrimp in every supermarket—but don’t. In addition to the horrid issues mentioned in this article—slave labor being just one of them—the compromised Asian shrimp industry has put many American shrimpers out of business. They can’t compete with slave labor.

Recipes and menu ideas for fish with Thai coconut red curry sauce, blackened skipjack tuna, green beans with mushrooms and herbs, shrimp scampi, Southern tomato pie, and pork Milanese.

Southern Tomato Pie

We are in the midst of tomato season here. I bought some German Johnson and Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes to make Vivian Howard’s Southern tomato pie. This is definitely a Sunday recipe due to all the steps involved—making the pastry, drying tomatoes, roasting tomatoes and making the filling—but it was worth it.

We had slices of the pie alongside pork Milanese—and the rest for breakfast. I also cooked some collards and kale with banana peppers, red and yellow onions, mushrooms, red bell pepper, and bacon.

More to come!


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