Thursday, August 02, 2007

Memory Lane Food

After getting stupendously pampered (my wallet less so) at the Banyan Tree spa, Phuket, in 2001, I treated myself to lunch at one of their restaurants and had an incredible pasta dish that I still linger over in my memories today. Penne with swordfish, asparagus, tomato and basil. It was creamy and full-flavoured and a complete contrast to the hours of svelte-inducing massages and facials I'd just had.

You never try and replicate favourite meals. They never quite match and there's the fear that the initial taste might be replaced with your substitute. But I was willing to try with this one.

I don't know if it turned out quite the same, but it was delicious and surprisingly quick to make. While the pasta is cooking you make the rest, so you're ready in 15 minutes. Pour yourself a glass of wine and pretend you're in a tropical resort. Or laugh over Thank God You're Here like me.

Penne with swordfish, asparagus, tomato and basil, serves 4

4 serves of penne
1 swordfish steak
1 bunch of asparagus
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 Ts thick cream
6 large basil leaves, thinly sliced at the last minute

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the ingredients. In some olive oil and/or butter, cook the swordfish over low-medium heat. About 3 minutes on one side and 2 on the other - leave it nice and rare in the middle. Make sure you do not overcook it, as tough swordfish is rubbish. Take it off the heat and let it rest. Pop whole asparagus stems into the pasta water while the penne is cooking and remove with tongs two minutes later, it should be nice and crisp. Slice on the diagonal into inch-long pieces. Slice the fish with the grain into nice chunks - too small and the fish will flake apart. In the same pan as the fish, add the cream and basil leaves and warm through. Add the vegetables and the cooked penne, season with salt and generously with pepper and carefully mix together, making sure not to break the fish apart.
Remember, we don't serve cheese with fish.
Note: Make sure everything is al dente in this dish for it to taste it's best - the penne, the asparagus - the warmth of the dish will keep the ingredients cooking slightly anyway.

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Blogger AlphaChick said...

Dish sounds delicious!

TGYH - Did we go to school with the guy in the stripy jumper?

4:26 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

Of course - that's Ed!

4:28 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Sounds fantastic! I know what I'm having for dinner tomorrow night!

12:00 AM  

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