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Yes. You read it right. Fish AND cheese. Before the barrage of comments and the shouts of "This girl is clearly out of her mind" begin, let's discuss. While some Italians might consider it borderline sacrilegious to combine seafood and cheese, there are many instances when the two go together quite well.
Say, shrimp saganaki, where a rich tomato sauce is topped with creamy, crumbled feta cheese. Or, if any of you have been lucky enough to visit Cuz's fish shack in Barbados, you can join me in salivating over the ridiculously delicious, well-seasoned fish sandwich that's topped with what almost tastes like American cheese and splash of Bajan hot sauce.
Cuz's in some sense was the inspiration for this week's recipes as was a relatively recent trip to the Caribbean. There, it was easy to enjoy a just-caught red snapper with a side of rice and beans and a healthy dose of local hot sauce. Back home, I decided to make my own twist on this local dish as a one-pot meal.
I quickly sear the snapper on one side to crisp the skin, then set it aside to make the rice. As it's cooked in the same pan, I scrape up the flavorful bits at the bottom as the onions soften and the spices infuse the oil to create a base for the rice. When the rice is finished cooking, I add some diced avocados for creaminess, along with some tomatillos to brighten things up.
And then the cheese: I top the dish with chunks of queso fresco. I like the way the cheese melts a little bit as you stir it and eat it with the hot rice. Who doesn't like melty cheese?
The dish is by no means traditional in any sense of the word, but, hey, isn't that part of American cuisine? We can make it up as we go along, borrowing a little bit from here and there.
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