Baked Fish with Thai Basil and Peppers

Today I put my money where my mouth is and bought a thirty-pound watermelon.  Yes, you read that right.  Thirty.  Pounds.  Thirty pounds!

Does this ever happen to you?  One minute I was innocently stopping by the store to pick up a piece of fish, and the next minute I was staggering to my car carrying a small child and a melon that weighed more than herTruth be told, I hadn’t even thought of buying a watermelon today.  The only reason I bought it was that it was sitting beside a much smaller but more expensive “petite” watermelon, making this organic behemoth an irresistible deal at $8.50.  Those marketing geniuses at my co-op know me so well.

And now I have thirty pounds of watermelon to dispatch.  Ideas?

Of course I started off by stuffing everyone with sweet slices and encouraging the children to organize a backyard seed-spitting contest.  And then I made a double batch of that outstanding Chilled Watermelon Soup with Thai Flavors–have you tried it yet?  And that, of course, meant Thai flavors for the fish I’d gone to the co-op to get in the first place.  (You thought I’d forgotten the point of this post, didn’t you?)
Every time I make this, J says it’s his favorite dish.  (I think he says that about other things too, though–isn’t that sweet?)  My favorite dish would probably be something involving chocolate, or maybe these baked eggs, but I agree that this dish is quite good.  And if fish isn’t your thing, you could certainly toss the pepper mixture with cubes of fried tofu and serve it over rice instead.

Baked Fish with Thai Basil and Peppers (adapted from the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School cookbook): Bake, grill, or fry a piece of white fish.  Tonight I used cod and just rubbed it with olive oil and salt and baked it at 350 until it was flaky in the thickest part of the fillet.

Meanwhile, dice an onion and chop 6 cloves of garlic.  Seed and dice an array of mildly spicy peppers (combine red and green Thai peppers, or mix a sweet pepper or two with a handful of jalapenos), about 2-3 c. chopped peppers total.  Saute the onion, garlic, and peppers over medium-high heat until the onion browns in spots, then add 1/4 c. water and 1 Tbsp. each soy sauce and fish sauce and cook for another minute.  Add a big handful of Thai basil leaves and stir to combine.  Garnish with lots of chopped cilantro and additional basil leaves and serve over fish with jasmine rice on the side.


31 thoughts on “Baked Fish with Thai Basil and Peppers

  1. Alex

    It sounds delicious.
    There’s a Portuguese dish, “Bacalhau à Liberdade” [wouldn’t know how to translate it… Liberty Cod?] which is in its essence very similar, with onion and peppers, but potatoes instead of rice. You can find it mainly in the north of Portugal and is traditionally served in really big portions.

    1. emmycooks Post author

      I think I’ve had that! In the version I had the fish was baked on top of a dish of onions and potatoes and it was just delicious. I need to look for that recipe! Or visit Portugal again. :)

  2. musingmar

    That fish looks so tasty, I wish I could dig right in. I didn’t grow up eating much fish and none of my kids liked. Even though I keep vowing to add more fish into my diet it just come to mind much when I’m thinking about what to make for dinner. I definitely need to stop by the fish market this weekend!

    As for that watermelon, what a behemoth! In case you have any left (you know, if you didn’t eat the rest right after you wrote this post 😊), you might want to stock up the freezer with some more of yesterday’s appealing sorbet.

    1. emmycooks Post author

      We don’t eat a ton of fish but I do always mean to make it more. My kids eat it pretty happily–they probably just haven’t heard that they’re not supposed to like it yet. :)

      And yes, I will definitely be making another batch of watermelon sorbet! In fact, I should go make the simple syrup now….

    1. emmycooks Post author

      That looks AMAZING! I think that is one of the most inviting looking salads I’ve ever seen. (I can’t figure out how to comment on that post, maybe comments are closed?) I will definitely be making a huge CSA salad with watermelon tomorrow!

  3. Allison

    You could make pickled watermelon rind! I tried that earlier this summer, but it was something of a failure so I didn’t post it on my blog…

    It only failed for two easily-fixable reasons though: 1) the recipe I followed produced pickles that were way too sweet and not vinegary enough– almost like candied watermelon– I should have trusted my instincts more with the ridiculous sugar:vinegar ratio… and 2) I didn’t use a big enough watermelon– but you won’t have that problem!– so I was unhappy to have gone through the entire process of sterilizing jars and starting my canning water bath to boil, only to end up with a total of ONE jar. So not technically a failure, but compared to my expectations, it felt like one.

      1. Allison

        Nice, these all sound good! I wish I’d gone with making quick pickles instead of what I did; the recipe I found for watermelon rind pickles was closer to that “candied” recipe than anything else! It also involved simmering in sugar (but with vinegar and cinnamon) and also became translucent… guess I should have spread them out to dry instead of canning them in brine! Anyway, I’m excited to see what you make with it!

    1. emmycooks Post author

      You should see the pics of my baby hugging it. :) I try to stick to food pics on here, though (does a watermelon in a carseat qualify?)! I didn’t even think of just pureeing and freezing it–but I will keep that in mind as an easy way out if we can’t get through it. Although as of this writing we’re about halfway through so I’m not too worried! :)

    1. emmycooks Post author

      True. I hid it. :) I use this blog a lot as my own personal cookbook and it was so busy-looking to scroll through screens of posts that had everyone’s pictures, so I hid the “likes.” Do you prefer to be able to “like” posts? I will still know that YOU like me. :) And maybe I’ll bring them back at some point if I miss them!

  4. Hannah

    My taste buds are tingling. My brother and his wife went to a class at the Chiang Mai Cookery school and brought me the cookbook – I need to go! I also need to pull the book out again…there are some terrific recipes in there. Thanks for sharing this one! Have great, watermelon filled weekend!

    1. emmycooks Post author

      Funny, when J & I spent a week at that school, we brought a copy of the cookbook back for MY brother! That school really was great, it was tons of fun and it gave us a lot of confidence with Thai ingredients and techniques. And you’re right, the recipes are delicious! You enjoy the sunny weekend too. :)

  5. baconbiscuit212

    30 pounds! That reminds me of my over-buying of kale earlier this year! It is amazing to see these things grow that big. Love the photo in the car seat!

    And baked fish looks wonderful. Yummy!

  6. Pingback: Inspiration Friday | Threadbare Art

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