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June 4, 2013

Recipe for Jamaican run down (fish stew with tomato, peppers and coconut milk) {gluten-free}

Jamaican run down, a robust fish stew. #glutenfree

Jamaican cooks make magic with fish. Dishes like run down aren't complicated, but they are definitely more than the sum of their parts. (The name originates from the way the fish is cooked until it falls apart, or "runs down.") When big chunks of fresh-caught fish, tomato, peppers, onion, lime juice, and a bit of hot chile pepper, distinctively Caribbean ingredients that you probably have in your pantry, come together in a coconut milk base, you end up with a fish stew that's hearty but not heavy. Here in New England the fishmongers sell cod loin, a thick cut of white fish; if you don't like cod, or can't find the loin cut, use salmon, halibut, red snapper or mackerel, whichever looks best at the market. Serve run down as a main course, with rice (for a gluten-free dish) or some crusty bread to mop the bottom of the bowl. Remember: food that comes from hot climates really does cool you down in the summer.

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May 21, 2013

Recipe for shrimp with Meyer lemon-dill dipping sauce

Shrimp appetizer with Meyer lemon dill dipping sauce.

Everything about this dish falls into the splurge category, especially if you live here in the Northeast, where shrimp come from elsewhere and Meyer lemons do not grow on trees. However, the holiday weekend approaches, and who deserves this over-the-top indulgent appetizer more than friends and family coming to the first official celebration of the summer season? There's nothing complicated here. Steam, poach, broil or grill jumbo shrimp. Mix up a fresh sauce with Greek yogurt and fresh dill weed and, if you can find one, a Meyer lemon, which is a cross between a lemon and a tangerine. Simple, elegant, and sure to be the first dish to disappear at any party.

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April 7, 2013

Recipe for green curry fish with asparagus and peas

Green curry fish with asparagus and peas, quick and easy.

Fresh green chili, garlic, wild ginger, shallot, lemon grass, salt, kaffir lime, sugar, galangal, coriander seeds, cumin, cardamon, tumeric: That's the ingredient list on the tub of Thai green curry paste in my refrigerator. No artificial ingredients, no additives, no unpronounceables. So, call store-bought curry paste a convenience food, if you must, but this is one convenience food I always have in my pantry. I'm partial to two brands, Mae Ploy and Maesri, sold in nearly identical little plastic tubs in most Asian markets (and online). Both are made with all-natural ingredients, and either will enhance this green curry fish with asparagus and peas. Use any white fish from the market, and if it's not asparagus season, try green beans or zucchini. Just keep it green.

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March 7, 2013

Smoky shrimp, corn and bacon chowder recipe

Smoky shrimp, corn and bacon chowder. So easy!

What makes a chowder a chowder, and not just a fish soup? The name comes from the French word chaudiere, a three-legged cauldron. When ships returned from the sea, every village had a large chaudiere waiting at the dock; each fisherman added a portion of his catch, big pieces of fish cleaned and cut right on the boat, to be served later as a communal meal. It's a shame that most of us no longer get our fish directly from the docks, and that we make chowder in our own kitchens instead of a communal pot. While our way of life has changed, the basic chowder remains the same: a fish-based soup, thick with big chunks of fish or shellfish. This shrimp, corn and bacon chowder gets a double whammy of smoky flavor from pimentón (smoked paprika) and the bacon. I call it a pantry chowder, because I always have shrimp and corn in the freezer, and a combination of clam and chicken broths from the pantry makes a fine substitute for fresh fish stock.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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