This is my first entry in the Royal Foodie Joust contest, and underwent a bunch of last-minute changes due to weather and whim. The required ingredients were some form of seafood, citrus (lemon or lime) and coconut. Initially I wanted to make ceviche with scallops and coconut ice cream, but figured ceviche was too obvious. Plus it’s still cold here, so cold food didn’t seem right. I did want to make the ice cream, though, so I modified it and bought some nice tuna instead of scallops. The coconut had been sitting on the counter patiently awaiting its fate. (Which was to have holes drilled in it, then get bashed apart with a hammer on the kitchen floor.)
To begin, I marinated the fish in kimchi juice and coconut water. I made the coconut-saffron-preserved lemon ice cream by simmering coconut milk, coconut water, and grated coconut meat along with our last preserved lemon (minced) and some saffron threads plus agave nectar and a bit of curry powder. While it was churning, I made a mango salsa with lime juice, togarashi, fish sauce, and a pinch of brown sugar. I also caramelized shiitakes with garlic and ginger until they were all crispy, and I floured, egged, and rolled the tuna in a mixture of panko and grated coconut. Once the ice cream was nearly ready, the fish went into a bit of hot oil to brown.
I intended to finish the dish with grated smoked coconut, but the rain precluded getting the smoker going, so I used a little more of the fresh. All the flavors worked pretty well together, and the ice cream melted into the salsa forming a wonderfully unctuous sort of tropical paella sauce that contrasted nicely with the crunchy warm fish and mushrooms. There was a good balance between sweet, savory, and spicy, as well as warm and cold. Not bad at all for what were essentially really fancy fish sticks.