fish and chards with curry, and a few words on natural sulfites

Hello, neighbors! It is fairly easy to add taste to a bunch of bok choy or chards: all you need is spices and a little fish, such as cod or scrod. Add some rice on the side, and voilà! Your meal is basically complete. Nothing complicated here, but keep in mind that chards take a while to prepare, as each stem has to be washed separately then cut up before tackling the recipe. Let’s get going then!

Ingredients (serves four)

1 or 2 shallotsor none at all if you react to them (explanations after the recipe)

– a little under 1 kilo (one pound) chards or bok choy*

– ¾ tsp curry powder, preferably organic

– ½ tsp coarse salt, untreated

– 200g (half a pound) tomatoes (can be from your freezer or from a can, provided there is no added citric acid – put on your reading glasses and check the label!)

– around 400g (one pound) fresh or partially defrosted fish, such as cod

– some olive oil

*The advantage of bok choy over regular chards is that its stems are thicker and contain more water, making it more likely to survive a few days in the fridge, greens removed, in a well sealed container.

How to :

1. Peel the shallots and wash the chards removing the green part and reserving some of the better looking leaves. Cut the stems in even pieces. Peel and cut the tomatoes into cubes.

2. Put some olive oil in a wok or a Dutch oven and chop the shallot into it. Turn on the heat and add the chards stems as soon as the oil starts singing 🎶, I mean, sizzling. Cook on medium-low for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chards become translucent. Meanwhile, chop the reserved greens into thin strips.

3. Add the 200g diced tomatoes, the greens, season with ¾ tsp curry powder and the ½ tsp coarse salt. Stir, cover and continue cooking about 5 minutes, while you cut up the fish into chunks.

4. Add the fish and cook another 5 to 10 minutes.

This is a light dish, very much appreciated after indulging over the holidays… Enjoy!

I often get questions in my mail box about what food to avoid because of sulfites. Unfortunately, I can never give a straight answer, as this depends both on the amounts ingested and the person’s own tolerance level to sulfites. Instead, I can only give you an explanation and a personal example. Shallots, as well as onions, garlic, leeks and cruciferous vegetables are all rich in sulfur, to various degrees, the details of which I could not find anywhere. But this must depend on the type of culture and also the soil in which they grow, so it makes sense that there is no consistent data on the sulfur content of these vegetables. Anyway, during the digestive process this sulfur turns into sulfites inside the body xxx, which explains why people such as my husband have to be careful and not eat too much of these vegetables. Easier said than done! A couple of weeks ago, I made a Russian soup, also known as “borscht”, finding my inspiration in two recipes, from Dolly’s blog (along with a delightful lesson in history) and Helen’s YouTube channel. I obviously made my adaptations, eliminating the cabbage from the ingredients list and replacing the onions with shallots, usually acceptable for my husband, provided there aren’t too many in the recipe. But here I used more that the usual amount; and then I completely forgot that I was also using a beef broth, leftover from a “pot-au-feu” which has been made with leeks… The following day my husband woke up with a swollen eye, one of the typical reactions to sulfites. The soup and nothing else was definitely the cause of the allergic reaction, since several days later we finished the soup and he got the same swelling, except on the other eye. This is really too bad.  Of course he didn’t want to go out any more: can you imagine the look of a masked man with frog’s eyes in this COVID era !

Dear neighbors, I would hate to finish this year on a sad note. So I have decided to provide you with some comic relief, in the form of a photo of myself (the only one on this blog!), ready for a nap during our children’s stay before Christmas: to be on the safe side, we had agreed to wear a mask around the house for the first few days…

My, oh my!

Stay safe, everybody!

7 Comments

  1. Thank you for giving me a shout-out, dear Joelle, but I am distressed that my recipe caused your husband’s allergic reaction. I hope he is over it and is feeling better now!
    Wonderful fish recipe; I will certainly try it out.
    Be well and stay safe, dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a fantastic picture you posted of yourself; it just about sums up 2020 for me. You have made my day 🙂 Lovely sounding recipe too by the way! Hope all well with you. Interesting to read about the sulphur content of alliums. I had a quick look in my “go to” nutrition tables but no record their either. I suppose this is because it is a so-called trace mineral, but very challenging if you have an allergy. If I come across anything I will let you know. Happy new year to you if we’re not in touch before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for doing research on sulfur. I tried both in French and English and found nothing. Oh well. Happy new year to you too, Kathryn, I can’t wait till this mask fashion is over!

      Like

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