Ahhh, it’s finally Friday and I am happy for a weekend with only a couple (or three) prescheduled events. Here in the Lowcountry, October and November tend to get filled with all the festivals, open houses, and community events that would never fly in the humidity soaked months of May-September. The weekends can get sort of crazy running from one thing to another, sometimes being disappointed not to make it to every simultaneously occurring event.
The weather here is now what others across the US might consider “perfect summer” weather. The cool, dry air hits a high in the mid seventies (degrees Fahrenheit) and the evening temps are in the high 50’s, making oyster roasts, carnivals, barbeques and pumpkin patch visits downright pleasurable, well, unless the no-see-ums (also known as sand gnats) show up to spoil the party. Forget Palmetto bugs, fire ants, or even mosquitoes, I consider these critters the plague of the Lowcountry with absolutely no redeeming qualities. If someone could invent an environmentally responsible, yet surefire way to get rid of them, billionaires they would surely become. Let me know if you have any ideas…
So enough about that scourge, lets talk about food and something sweet and special…ginger spread. My friend, Greta from over our local organic grocery, Herban Marketplace, kindly gave me a jar of this luscious concoction to try. It is made by a company called Ginger People and while I possess no personal nor professional affiliation with them what so ever, I do love this stuff. So far I have created two recipes using it – fish with an Asian-inspired tangerine ginger glaze that is not traditionally Southern at all – and sweet potatoes, a vegetable that is clearly and historically as Southern as grits or butter beans.
After testing the glaze/marinade a few times on different fish and even shrimp, I got the proportions just right. And while purchasing these beautiful, first of the season sweet potatoes, it dawned on me that they could be my ginger’s ‘Fred’.
I grew up with sweet potato side dishes served up at holiday time, in particular, loaded with added sugar and even marshmallows – which I always scooped off. Sorry, but that is gross. As I got older I’ve found new ways to prepare sweet potatoes, mostly without using much in the way of sweeteners. Now this ginger spread is sweet, so before I sound like a phony, I will warn to use it sparingly as a little goes a long way both in sweetness and in the ‘gingerfication’ of whatever food you’re preparing.
This being said, the ginger cream spiked sweet potatoes and the fresh snapper bathed in the tangerine-ginger glaze could not go together any better. And as a feather in my cap, my non-sweet potato eating Dear Hubby even tried (and liked) them, so after a concerted 6-plus year effort, a sweet potato epiphany has finally cracked that nut! Yeah for me.
Snapper Glazed with Ginger and Tangerine
- 1 lb. fillet snapper (or salmon, grouper, or mahi mahi)
- ¼ cup Mirin
- ¼ cup soy sauce (I use low sodium)
- 2 tbl. Ginger People ginger spread
- 1 tbl. rice wine vinegar
- Juice of a 1 juicy tangerine and zest of 1/2 a tangerine
- Juice and zest of ½ lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl mix the Mirin, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and whisk in the ginger spread, juices and zest. Reserve ¼ cup in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large flat dish place the clean fish fillet and pour the Mirin marinade (not the reserved ¼ cup) over the fillet. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour
Stovetop: In a large skillet heat 1 tbl oil (grape or vegetable) and 1 tbl butter until very hot – but not smoking. Place fish in skillet skin side up and sear for 1-2 minutes, lowering temperature if necessary. Flip fish over, pour the remaining ginger/Mirin/juice mixture over the fish and continue to cook over medium high heat 3-4 minutes. Turn heat down, cover pan and continue to cook another 5-6 minutes or until the fillet is cooked through.
Grill: Fire up your grill and get it hot. Grill skin side up like above and then flip over once, using a brush to slather the fillet in the reserved marinade/glaze. Turn the heat down (gas grill), put the top down and allow to grill until the fillet is cooked through. If using a charcoal grill, after the initial sear I suggest flipping the fish onto an oiled piece of aluminum foil, to finish cooking.
Remove to a warm platter or plate and serve with the gingered sweet potatoes.
Gingered Sweet Potatoes
- 2-3 sweet potatoes in their jackets, washed and dried
- 2 tbl. Ginger People ginger spread
- ½ cup cream
- Juice of half a lemon
- ¼ tsp. salt plus extra
- Optional: orange or tangerine zest, about 1 teaspoon
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place whole sweet potatoes on a lightly greased baking dish or pan. Bake about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and their jackets are separating from the interior. Allow to cool enough to slip the jackets off (use paper towels or potholder if necessary to hold the warm potato). Oil or butter a glass or ceramic baking dish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each potato into thick (3/8” slices) and place in the baking dish, fanning slightly. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk the cream with the ginger spread, add in the lemon juice, and a dash of salt. Pour this mixture over the sweet potatoes, cover the baking dish and bake about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with a spoonful of the ginger cream on top and sprinkled with zest, if desired. Serves 4-6.