Palo Santo’s Bluefish with Plantain, Hot Slaw, and Salsa Verde

We’ve been going to Palo Santo in Park Slope since they first opened their doors years ago. I think it’s the best restaurant in the neighborhood, and that’s not just because of their hearty portions and the free glasses of Prosecco they give us every time we go. At Palo Santo, one is overwhelmed by the flavor of the food, and not by rococo cooking methods. The complexities in their dishes come from artful combinations: from dynamic relationships, and never from an abundance of sauces and seasonings. For these reasons and many more, Palo Santo is singular among Brooklyn locovore restaurants.

When I found this recipe for Palo Santo’s Bluefish with Plantain, Hot Slaw, and Salsa Verde in The New Brooklyn Cookbook, I got a little nervous. What if the sweet, succulent plantain that I so looked forward to was actually easy to make at home. If I could cook Palo Santo, then could I justify the expense of a full meal there, just to shoot the shit with Gonzalo as he brought us our free Proseccos?

This is by far the best blue fish recipe I’ve ever made. The sharpness of the hot slaw, and the sweetness of the plantain, rise up to meet the strong, oily flavor of the fish like no other bluefish recipe I know.

It was of course not as good as the Palo Santo dish. Apparently, you’re not supposed to cook plantains while they’re still green. Who knew? Anyway, I’ll still be going to the restaurant every few months. I still don’t know how to make their grilled steak and fried yucca.

Blue Fish with Plantain, Hot Slaw, and Salsa Verde

Adapted from The New Brooklyn Cookbook

Hot Slaw

½ head red cabbage, shredded

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

1.)   Combine cabbage, jalapeno, garlic, vinegar, and oil in large bowl. Season to taste and set aside to marinate.

IMG_0472

Salsa Verde

10 ounces tomatillos

1/3 cup chives, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon olive oil

Coarse salt

1.)   On each of the tomatillos, make an x at the bottom with a paring knife. Bring a pot of water to boil and prepare an ice bath. Blanch tomatillos until skin splits. This could be a few seconds or a few minutes, depending on the tomatillos.

2.)   Remove from boiling water and plunge into ice bath when skin splits, then chop.

IMG_0475

3.)   Place in a small bowl with chives, jalapeno, limejuice, and oil. Season to taste.

IMG_0478

Plantains

3 ripe plantains (yellow, not green)

1 tablespoon butter

1.)   Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast plantains on rimmed baking sheet until they puff up and burst, about 20 minutes.

IMG_0470IMG_0484

2.)   Remove from oven and allow to cool. When you can touch them, slice them lengthways and brush cut side with butter.

3.)   Return to oven for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Bluefish

6 8-ounce bluefish fillets

Coarse salt and pepper.

2 tablespoons cooking fat

1.)   Heat ovenproof skillet with fat

2.)   Season fish with salt and pepper and sauté fish, skin side down 2 or 3 minutes, or until skin is golden.

3.)   Place pan in oven to finish cooking fish, about 5 minutes.

IMG_0480

To serve, place an unpeeled plantain half on each plate and a mound of slaw next to the plantain. Place fish on top of the slaw and garnish with salsa verde.

 IMG_0488

Peanut Butter

One summer at camp, a counselor who hailed from Sweden looked over at the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I’d made at lunchtime, and exclaimed, “What an interesting combination! How inventive you are.” At eight I was embarrassed by my avant garde PB and J and didn’t enlighten her.

It is of course a singular American invention, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Fat and sugar slathered in bright, chemical smears on factory-produced bread. It seems amazing that even in the eighties a teenage swede wasn’t culturally with it enough know about this most iconic American sandwich.

Besides that, I’ve really no other stories about peanut butter. I like it chunky and slathered liberally. This recipe gives you an excuse to eat quantities of it as an adult, guilt-free. An apple from my farmer’s market, accompanied by a jar of this peanut butter has been my much-looked-forward-to TV snack all week.

I used hazelnut oil for my peanut butter, as that’s what I had in the house, but feel free to use whichever kind of nut oil you fancy.

Peanut Butter

Adapted from the Food Network

1 lb roasted peanuts

1 tablespoon (and more to taste) kosher salt

2 teaspoons honey

2 tablespoons (or more for preferred texture) nut oil.

1.)   Put peanuts, salt, and honey in a food processor and process until smooth.

IMG_0492IMG_0494

2.)   Scrape down sides of bowl. Put lid back on and continue to process while drizzling in the oil. Continue drizzling until peanut butter is at the texture you like. It can be anywhere from silky to crumbly.

IMG_0496

3.)   Season to taste.